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N98254 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Hallam, NE
40.537780°N, 96.787246°W

Tail number N98254
Accident date 13 Jan 1996
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-140
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On January 13, 1996, at about 1947 central standard time (cst), a Piper PA-28-140, N98254, registered to J and D Aircraft Service, Inc., of Wahoo, Nebraska, was destroyed when the airplane struck powerlines during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The private pilot and two passengers sustained fatal injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The flight originated from Love Field, Dallas, Texas, at 1544 cst.

A witness at Associated Air Center, Love Field, Dallas, Texas, reported the airplane arrived at the airport two days prior to the accident. She said the pilot purchased 42 gallons of fuel and told the line person that they made great time down from Wahoo, Nebraska, due to the tailwind they encountered. The line supervisor said he attempted to park the airplane using universally recognized hand signals, but the pilot did not seem to understand these signals and parked the airplane differently than intended.

There was no flight plan on file for the accident flight; however, the pilot did utilize VFR flight following. While en route, the pilot did contact Silerhawk Aviation in Crete, Nebraska, inquiring about fuel availability. The pilot later was heard over an aviation scanner at Beatrice Municipal Airport, located in Beatrice, Nebraska, on Crete Airport Unicom frequency stating that he was low on fuel. A short time later the pilot reported over Crete Airport Unicom frequency that he was out of fuel and intended to perform an off-field landing near Sheldon Power Station, Hallam, Nebraska.

A Police Officer interviewed the pilot's wife and stated that she said the pilot "...had left at three thirty p.m. on 011396, from Dallas and that he would have to stop and refuel before arriving in Lincoln... ."


A broken shield wire on a 345kv transmission line running west to east direction, 120 feet north of the wreckage, connected to the Sheldon Station Power Plant.


The pilot was born May 23, 1958. He was the holder of a private certificate with a single engine land rating. His most recent biennial flight review was on March 27, 1994. He had accumulated a total of 139.05 hours with 33 hours in this type of airplane at the time of the accident.


The airplane was a Piper PA-28-140, serial number 28-25966. The airplane had accumulated 4855.48 hours time in service at the time of the accident. The engine had 1268.35 hours total since its last overhaul. The most recent inspection was conducted on September 1, 1995, with 65.48 hours prior to the accident.


The pilot received an abbreviated weather briefing in Dallas, Texas, prior to departure. This briefing forecasted VFR conditions along the entire route of flight to Wahoo, Nebraska, with quartering headwinds out of the northwest. The surface observation for the closest reporting point to the accident site, Lincoln, Nebraska Airport (LNK) indicated VFR conditions prevailing during the accident period. Lincoln Airport is located approximately 13.5 NM north of the accident site. Beatrice Municipal Airport (BIE), is located approximately 19 NM south of the accident site. The hourly sequence report from (LNK) and (BIE) for the accident period are as follows; at 2056 cst, LNK was reporting winds out of 250 degrees at 6 knots, at 2010 cst, BIE was reporting winds at 320 degrees at 5 knots. Based on these observations, the flight would have been flying into a quartering headwind on the return flight from Dallas, Texas.


The NTSB on-scene investigation began on January 14, 1996 at 1200 cst. The wreckage was located 500 yards northeast of Hallam Power Station. The right wing leading edge, from mid-span outward to the tip and from the leading edge to the main spar, was located approximately 100 feet to the north of the main wreckage. The right wing had tear marks originating from the underside to upperside of the wing. Twenty feet to the north were powerlines running in a west east direction. There were 3 main powerlines that a height of 60 feet, 20 feet above them were 2 shielded wires. The north shielded wire was broken and repaired prior to the IIC's arrival.

The airplane was positioned on the left side of its fuselage on a heading of 080 degrees. The main fuselage displayed compression damage to the forward cabin floor area, deforming it in an up and aft direction. The aft fuselage sustained minor buckling on the left side and lower portions. The stabilator revealed compression damage along the top of the left side. The vertical stabilizer and rudder revealed minor skin deformation. The heading gyro was captured at 180 degrees.

The left wing was partially separated and was laying back against the fuselage. Evidence of wire imprinting and arcing were noted on both the left wing and the separated right wing portion. The right wing was attached by the forward wing mounting bolt and was missing the outer leading edge. The flap and aileron of the right wing remained intact and securely attached to their hinges.

The left wing separated at the root attachments and rotated aft, coming to rest parallel to the fuselage. The outboard third of the leading edge of the left wing and wing tip displayed compression damage aft to the main spar. The left aileron contacted the left stabilator and displayed a matching deformation contact point. The left flap was found intact and separated at the outboard hinge. Both wing flaps were positioned at 40 degrees.

Examination of the propeller exhibited no chordwise scratches, leading edge gouges or torsional bending. Propeller blade number one was bent slightly aft, while blade number two was undamaged. The propeller flange revealed an aft bend on approximately one third of the circumference. The propeller spinner revealed no spiral deformation and exhibited damage that was not symmetrical.

No fuel was present in the gascolator or carburetor. The fuel selector was selected to the right tank. The integrity of both fuel tanks were intact. Twenty four ounces of fuel was drained from the right tank and six ounces of fuel was drained from the left tank. Total fuel capacity was 50 gallons with a total unusable fuel of twenty four ounces. The airplane had 191.5 pounds of baggage, containing mostly catalogs. The engine turned by way of the crankshaft and continuity was established through all pistons and the accessory section. The vacuum pump was intact and appeared undamaged.

Control continuity was established from the cockpit control pedestal to the ailerons, elevator, and both rudder pedals. No pre-existing anomalies were noted during the post accident examination of the engine, propeller and airframe.


A post mortem examination of the pilot and front right seat passenger were conducted on January 15, 1996, at Lincoln General Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska. The pilot's toxicology analysis was performed by the FAA's Civil Medical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological examination of specimens from the pilot were negative for the drugs scanned.


The airplane weight and balance calculations indicated the gross weight of the airplane was about 2,382 pounds and the center of gravity was approximately 90.57 inches at the time of takeoff. The airplane's weight and balance sheet specifies a max gross weight of 2081 pounds.

Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration; Piper Aircraft Corporation; Textron Lycoming; J and D Aircraft Service Company, Wahoo, Nebraska.

The airplane wreckage was released to the owner on January 14, 1996.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.