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N5221Z accident description

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Crash location 42.273056°N, 79.491389°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Mayville, NY
42.253947°N, 79.504491°W
1.5 miles away

Tail number N5221Z
Accident date 21 Aug 2002
Aircraft type Piper PA-22-108
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On August 21, 2002, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-22-108, N5221Z, was substantially damaged after it struck wires while on approach to the Dart Airport (D79), Mayville, New York. The certificated student pilot was fatally injured, and a private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the South Dayton Airport (NY27), South Dayton, New York. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was owned by the student pilot and based at D79. On the morning of the accident, the student pilot conducted a 1.2 hour training flight in the airplane with a fight instructor. Later in the day, he saw the private pilot at the airport and they decided to take a local flight.

During an interview, the private pilot stated that he and the student pilot departed D79 and flew to NY27, for ice cream. They then departed NY27, flew over the student pilot's house and returned to D79, where the student pilot entered the traffic pattern for landing on runway 13, a 2,750-foot long, turf runway. According to the private pilot, the student pilot flew the majority of the flight, and was manipulating the controls during the landing attempt. The student pilot's first landing approach was "way too high" and resulted in a go-around. During the second landing attempt, the airplane "seemed right on glide slope," when it "suddenly dropped down" and impacted power lines. The private pilot stated he attempted to reach for the controls and apply engine power, but was too late. He also stated that they did not experience any mechanical problems at any point during the flight.

The airplane struck the top of a utility pole and power lines, which were located about 250 feet prior to, and in-line with the approach end of the runway. The utility pole was about 40 feet tall, and the wires were marked with "orange balls." The airplane flipped over and came to rest inverted on crops, about 140 feet from the approach end of the runway.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 42 degrees, 16 minutes north latitude, and 79 degrees, 29 minutes west longitude.


Review of the student pilot's logbook revealed he began flying the accident airplane in April 2002. He had accumulated approximately 26 hours of total flight experience, with 24 hours in make and model during the 90 days prior to the accident. The student pilot had not logged any "solo" flight time.

During an interview, the student pilot's flight instructor stated she considered the student pilot a good pilot; however, she had not signed him off for solo flight because of his performance during landing attempts. They had been working on takeoffs and landing for about 6 hours, and she found the student pilot to get "very tense and real nervous" during landings.

The student pilot obtained a third class FAA medical certificate on December 5, 2000.

The private pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He reported approximately 605 hours of total flight experience, which included about 450 hours in make and model.

The private pilot's most recent third class FAA medical certificate was issued on June 1, 2001.

The private pilot reported he had known the student pilot for about 30 years. He was aware that the student pilot had been receiving flight instruction in the accident airplane; however he was unaware that the student pilot had not soloed in the airplane. He also stated they had not flown together prior to the date of the accident.


Review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the airplane had been operated for about 2 hours since it's most recent annual inspection, which was performed on August 14, 2002. Additionally, the airplane did have a supplemental type certificate (STC), which allowed the use of automotive gasoline.

The flight instructor stated she did not experience any mechanical problems during the morning instructional flight.


The weather reported at an airport about 20 miles northeast of D79, at 1552, included winds from 040 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, and clear skies.


The airplane had been moved to a hangar prior to the arrival of a Safety Board investigator.

All major portions of the airplane were accounted for. The engine and forward portion of the fuselage was displaced aft and upward. The propeller was separated at the mounting flange, and the propeller spinner was crushed back. Both propeller blades displayed chordwise scratches, and the outboard third of one blade was twisted rearward. The empennage sustained minor damage; however, the fuselage aft of the cabin was canted to the left.

Both wings were removed from the airplane and were resting on the ground near the hanger. The outboard portion of the left wing near the landing light was crushed rearward, and wrinkling was observed on the upper and lower portions of the wing fabric. The outboard third of the right wing was curled upward. Scoring consistent with a wire strike was observed about 45 inches inboard of the right wing tip, near the leading edge. Additionally, a charred area consistent with electrical arching was observed on the underside of the wing fabric in the area outboard of the wire strike.

Flight control continuity was verified from the forward cockpit area of the airplane to the rudder and elevator control surfaces. Aileron flight control continuity was observed from the aileron control surfaces to the wing root, and from the forward cockpit area to the wing root, respectively.

The engine was removed and rotated via an accessory drive gear. Valve train continuity was observed and compression was attained on all cylinders. Additionally, both magnetos produced a spark from all towers when rotated. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed. Their electrodes were intact and contained black combustion deposits.

Fuel consistent with automotive gasoline was observed in the airframe fuel filter and carburetor. Examination of the airframe filter element revealed it was absent of debris.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on August 22, 2002, by the Erie County Coroner's Office, Eire, Pennsylvania.

Toxicological testing was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Wreckage Release

The airplane wreckage was released on August 23, 2002, to the airport owner.

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