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N98122 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Hillsborough, NJ
40.533437°N, 74.666270°W
Tail number N98122
Accident date 29 May 1999
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-140
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 29, 1999, about 1545 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N98122, was substantially damage when it impacted the ground near Hillsborough, New Jersey, after departing from Central Jersey Regional Airport, Manville, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a witness who was taxiing back to parking, the pilot requested a radio check on UNICOM, about 1500, but his transmission was intermittent. Once the witness parked his airplane, he went to help the pilot troubleshoot the problem. A lose wire on the intercom system was secured, and the problem was abated. About 1510, the witness was in the fixed base operator's facility (FBO), and heard the pilot request maintenance support over the radio. He went to assist. When he got to the airplane, the accident pilot told him the starter would not engage. After assessing the situation, the witness realized that the pilot did not know how to start the airplane. The witness instructed the pilot to rotate the ignition switch all the way to the right, and then push in. The starter engaged.

The witness went back inside the FBO to brief his next student. Both the witness and student then preflighted their airplane, started the engine, and taxied to the run-up area behind the accident airplane. The witness saw the pilot perform a run-up check, and heard him announce his intentions on UNICOM before taxiing onto runway 25. After the accident airplane became airborne, it assumed a 10 to 15 degree climb attitude, and turned left 20 degrees for noise abatement. The witness added that after completing the turn and reaching approximately 200 feet agl, the airplane stalled. After entering the stall, the nose of the airplane pitched up and down, but never went below the horizon. The witness loss sight of the airplane before it impacted the trees.

After seeing the airplane descend into the trees, the witness aborted his takeoff, and requested assistance over UNICOM. He taxied to the end of the runway, exited onto a taxiway, and shut down the airplane's engine. He then went to the accident site with several others to provided assistance. In addition, the witness reported the winds were 270 to 280 degrees, and 5 to 10 knots.

A witness playing golf approximately 500 yards from the accident site saw the airplane's right wing contact a tree, then roll inverted before impacting the ground in a nose low attitude.

The accident happened during the hours of daylight. The wreckage was located 40 degrees, 31.167 minutes north latitude, 74 degrees, 36.412 minutes west longitude, and about 92 feet elevation.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating, and no instrument rating. His second class medical was dated August 28, 1998. The pilot's logbook was recovered at the accident site from a bag bearing the pilot's initials. Examination of the logbook revealed a total of 117 hours of flight experience, and no entry for the accident airplane make and model. The logbook showed an entry for a biennial flight review on August 31, 1997, in a Cessna 152. The last entry in the logbook was dated October 26, 1998. However, Flight school records showed the pilot flew with a certified flight instructor on April 2, 1999, and was signed off in the 180 horsepower Piper PA-28-180. No documentation was discovered that indicated the pilot had any flight experience in the 140 horsepower PA-28-140.


At 1551, Newark International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, reported winds 310 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 6,500 feet, scattered clouds at 9,000 feet, scattered clouds at 25,000 feet, temperature 90 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 54 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was examined on May 29 and 30, 1999, at the accident site. The wreckage came to rest upside down in a wood area on a magnetic bearing of 180 degrees, about 2,060 feet from the departure end of runway 25 at Central Jersey. Several freshly broken tree branches were observed 30 feet above the ground, and approximately 210 feet to the north of the main wreckage. In one of the branches was a piece of aluminum painted the same color as the airplane.

The wreckage was confined to the dimension of the airplane with the majority of damage towards the front of the airplane. The right wing was partially separated from the fuselage, and displayed impact damage from the its wingtip to approximately 3 feet inboard. The right wing was intact with only minor impact damage. The fuselage was undamaged aft of the pilot's and passenger's door. The empennage was intact, and no impact damage was observed. Aileron, vertical stabilator, and rudder flight control continuity was verified to the cockpit.


The engine was examined in a hangar at Central Jersey on May 30, 1999. During the examination the engine's crankshaft was rotated, and compression was obtained on all four cylinders. Spark was verified to all four cylinders, and fuel was observed in the lines connected to the engine driven fuel pump. The top four sparkplug were removed and their electrodes were free of debris. The number 1 propeller blade displayed chordwise scratches, leading edge gouges, and "S" bending. In addition to chordwise scratches, leading edge gouges, and "S" bending, the number 2 propeller blade tip was bent aft approximately 2 inches.


An autopsy was preformed on both the pilot, and passenger on May 30, 1999 at the Medical Examiners Office in Newark, New Jersey.

A toxicological test was performed on both the pilot and passenger by the Federal Aviation Administrations Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


On May 30, 1999, the wreckage was released to the owner's representative.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an inadvertent stall. A factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the accident airplane's make and model.

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