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N29571 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Wagoner, OK
35.959544°N, 95.369412°W

Tail number N29571
Accident date 07 Aug 1999
Aircraft type Cessna 177
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On August 7, 1999, at 1255 central daylight time, a Cessna 177 single-engine airplane, N29571, was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a loss of control during a go-around at the Wagoner Municipal Airport, near Wagoner, Oklahoma. The non-instrument rated commercial pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 local flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from the same location approximately 50 minutes prior to the accident.

A witness reported first observing the airplane entering the left traffic pattern on a left downwind for Runway 17. The same witness later observed the airplane turning base leg and final approach for Runway 17. The witness, who was in a hangar near midfield, reported hearing the sound of the engine being reduced to idle "as he normally heard during a normal landing." Moments later, the witness reported hearing the sound of takeoff power being applied; however, the witness did not turn around to look at the airplane. The witness further stated that "after a few seconds of continuos takeoff power, he heard the engine backfire a couple of times, and the engine noise ceased." The witness reported that he heard the sound of "crushing metal" and immediately headed toward a wooded area on the east side of the airport. A few seconds later, he observed fire and smoke coming from the wooded area.

Another eyewitness, who was driving eastbound on the road running perpendicular to the departure end of the runway, observed the airplane in level flight traveling from north to south at approximately 50 feet above the runway. He told law enforcement officers at the site that he observed the airplane in a nose high attitude, enter a "hard left turn and crash into trees" abeam the east side of the runway.


The 57-year old pilot, who was occupying the left seat, held a commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land ratings issued on April 15, 1969. He was rated as a flight instructor in airplanes on June 4, 1969, but never renewed his flight instructor privileges. A friend of the pilot reported that the pilot worked as a flight instructor for a short time in the early 1970's with a flight school at the Riverside Airport, near Tulsa, Oklahoma. The pilot had been inactive from flying until early 1999, when he purchased the accident airplane on May 12, 1999.

The flight instructor, who gave the pilot the refresher training to regain proficiency, came out to the accident site. He stated that he gave the pilot 12 hours of ground school as refresher training. He also provided the pilot with 8 hours of dual flight instruction prior to signing off his biennial flight review (BFR) on May 13, 1999. The flight instructor stated that the pilot was "an above average pilot who took flying very seriously" and intended to start working on his instrument rating in the immediate future.

The pilot's most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on June 30, 1998, with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." On the application form submitted during his last medical examination, the pilot reported a total flight time of 900 hours. Burned pages of the pilot's logbook were found at the accident site.

The 37-year old passenger, who was occupying the right front seat of the dual control airplane, was not a pilot. He was reported to be a business partner (Vice President) with the pilot in a chemical distribution company they owned in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A friend of the pilot stated that the passenger came up to Wagoner to visit the site of the pilot's proposed new hangar, which he was to assist the pilot in building.


The previous owner of the airplane reported that he sold the 1968 model "Cardinal," serial number 177-00968, to the pilot during the month of April 1999. He stated that this early model "Cardinal" was powered by a 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, serial number L-21337-27A. The airplane was being hangared at the Tahlequah Airport (H73), approximately 17 nautical east-southeast of Wagoner.

According to personnel at the Wagoner Airport, the airplane's 49-gallon fuel system was topped off with 29.9 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel prior to departing for the local area flight. Fuel was observed in the bottom of the left fuel cell.

The two pilots, who last flew the airplane prior to the accident, stated that their flight was uneventful and they had not experienced any power hesitations or interruptions. The mechanic who performed the last annual inspection on the airplane came out to the accident site. He stated that he had also performed 3 or 4 previous annuals on the airplane for the previous owner. He stated that the airplane was "a clean, low time airplane, that had always been well taken care of."

The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses for any of its occupants. The seat belt for the pilot's seat was equipped with an extension. The maintenance records for the airplane were not located during the course of the investigation and were possibly destroyed by the post-impact fire. The most recent annual inspection was completed on September 1998 at approximately 1,915 airframe hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe and the engine had accumulated a total of 1,940 hours since new.


At 1253, the recorded weather at the Davis Airport, near Muskogee, Oklahoma, located 13 nautical miles to the south of the accident site, reported clear skies with a visibility of 9 miles, winds from 210 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 21 knots, a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit ), a dew point of 21 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit), and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of Mercury. The NTSB investigator-in-charge calculated the density altitude at 3,335 feet.


Personnel from the local sheriff's department reported receiving the first 911 call from the airport at 1257. The wreckage of the airplane was located in a shallow ravine approximately 125 yards east of the edge of the runway. The initial point of ground impact was nearly abeam the numbers for runway 35. Examination of the site revealed a linear wreckage path extending for a total distance of approximately 50 feet on a measured magnetic heading of 155 degrees. The airplane came to rest on a measured magnetic heading of 180 degrees.

A green lens, identified as part of the wing tip navigation light for the right wing, was located adjacent to the fiberglass fairing for the right wing tip at the initial point of ground impact. Numerous fragments of windshield plexiglass, the magnetic compass, and the probe for the outside air temperature gauge were found at the initial point of impact.

The main wreckage, consisting of both wings, the fuselage, and the engine, was found 50 feet from the initial impact point. The propeller and the two main landing gear were found scattered between the main wreckage and the initial point of impact.

The fixed pitch propeller assembly separated from the engine at the propeller flange. The propeller spinner was crushed and did not exhibit any rotational damage. Minor blade leading edge damage was found on both propeller blades. No tip or twist damage was found on either of the two blades. The outer 1/4 of one propeller blade was slightly bent aft.

Control cable continuity was established from all flight controls to the cockpit. The position of the elevator/stabilator trim tab could not be determined due to impact and fire damage. Examination of the flap actuator revealed that the flaps were in the fully retracted position at the time of the accident.

The fuel selector was destroyed by fire. All aircraft components and wreckage were located within a 100 foot radius of the initial point of impact.


An autopsy and toxicological tests were requested and performed. The autopsy was performed by R.F. Distefano, D.O., of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on August 8, 1999. Toxicological tests performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) were negative.


A post-impact fire destroyed the airplane. No evidence of pre-impact fire was observed during the field portion of the investigation.


The engine was examined under the supervision of an NTSB investigator on 15 December 1999, at the facilities of Air Salvage of Dallas in Lancaster, Texas. The engine crankshaft was rotated by turning the vacuum pump drive gear. Continuity was established to the accessory gears, and valve action was observed on all four cylinders. There was thumb compression on all four cylinders. Sooty deposits were found on the spark plugs, consistent with rich mixture operation. See the enclosed engine manufacturer's report for details of the examination.


The wreckage was released to the owner's representative upon completion of the investigation.

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