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N738QT accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 45.042222°N, 123.999444°W
Nearest city Otis, OR
45.024275°N, 123.946502°W
2.9 miles away
Tail number N738QT
Accident date 06 Jul 2002
Aircraft type Cessna 172N
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On July 6, 2002, approximately 0930 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N738QT, registered to and being flown by a private pilot was destroyed during an uncontrolled collision with terrain following a collision with power lines while in cruise approximately two and one-half miles west of Otis, Oregon. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14 CFR 91, and originated from McNary field, Salem, Oregon, at 0907.

A number of adolescents at the YWCA Camp Westwind observed the aircraft accident. A Lincoln County Sheriff's Department deputy interviewed two members of the camp. He reported that both witnesses were situated along the shoreline of the river (south side - refer to CHART I). One witness reported hearing a plane flying in and said the plane was flying low to the water. The witness reported seeing the plane start a pull-up as it approached the power lines. The witness believed the plane's left wing contacted the power line.

The second camp member interviewed reported observing the plane flying low over the water and then saw the plane pull up and turn. The witness then observed the plane's left wing hit the power line.

A third witness interviewed by the deputy and located along the north side of the river (further east from the accident site) reported hearing the aircraft from her deck. She looked up and noticed the plane flying low over the water and initially thought the aircraft was float equipped and intended to land on the water. She watched the aircraft continue down river until she lost sight of it due to trees. After the aircraft was lost from sight she reported hearing the plane's engine quit (refer to Attachment SR-I).


The pilot possessed a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land ratings only. The certificate was issued October 11, 1997. No pilot logs were available and the pilot's total flight time of 900 hours was as reported as of his last medical examination, a third class with no restrictions, dated September 25, 2001.


N738QT, A Cessna 172N, serial number 17270161, was registered to GKW Flights LLC. and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-H2AD reciprocating engine. The pilot occupied the front left seat and the passenger occupied the front right seat.


An Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) at the Newport Municipal airport (ONP) reported the following conditions at 0930 on the morning of the accident (ONP is located 28 nautical miles south of the accident site):

Ceiling 1,200 foot broken, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature and dew point 16 and 13 degrees Centigrade respectively, altimeter 30.07 inches of mercury and winds from 270 degrees magnetic at 5 knots. No precipitation or restrictions to visibility were reported.


The aircraft crashed on a sandy tidal flat along the southern side of the Salmon River estuary near a low tide condition. The ground impact site consisted of compacted moist sand and the location of the ground impact site was 45 degrees 02.536 minutes North latitude and 123 degrees 59.962 minutes West longitude (refer to CHART II).

The aircraft's ground impact site was approximately 350 feet northwest of a power line consisting of three horizontally situated cables oriented along a 033/213 degree magnetic bearing line (refer to photographs 1 and 2). The bearing line between the aircraft's ground impact site and the power line cable patch point (subsequent to the lines' repair) was 285 degrees magnetic. The power line patch point was near the low point of the line's catenary and the elevation of the three lines at the patch point was 60 feet above the ground impact elevation (refer to CHART II). The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department reported that upon their arrival at the site they observed two of the three power lines were entangled in the aircraft. The severed power lines were patched and all three lines returned to their original pole-to-pole placement prior to the investigator's arrival on site.

The aircraft was first observed in approximately 3 feet of water in a nose low, inverted attitude (refer to photograph 3). On site examination at low tide determined that the aircraft came to rest with its longitudinal axis oriented along an approximate 195/015-degree magnetic bearing (nose south). The empennage was broken with a split at the underside of the fuselage at the rear of the cabin and compressive buckling at the top. The top of the vertical stabilizer was embedded in the sand and there were no ground scar marks associated with lateral movement across the sand (refer to photographs 4 through 7). The flaps were observed in the retracted position (verified by jackscrew position) and control continuity was established for all three sets of control surfaces as well as the elevator trim tab. The propeller remained attached to the engine and the spinner displayed compressive, aftward deformation. Both blades of the propeller were deformed slightly aft (refer to photograph 8). There was no evidence of any mechanical malfunction with or control discontinuity related to the engine.

Photographic documentation of the accident site immediately after the accident provided by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department showed both left and right wing struts attached at both the fuselage and wing attach points, as well as the power lines entangled in the airframe (refer to photographs 9 and 10).

The horizontal and vertical stabilizers as well as their associated control surfaces were not deformed and showed no signatures along their leading edges characteristic of impact with a braded cable (refer to photographs 11 and 12).

Both left and right wing leading edges displayed aftward compressive deformation with a noticeable downward distortion of the leading edge near each tip (refer to photograph 6). Several feet inboard of the left wingtip the leading edge skin of the left wing was observed to be torn and peeled outboard. The tearing signature where the skin was riveted to the wing spar was a "saw tooth" pattern (refer to photographs 13 and 14).


Nikolas J. Hartshorne, M.D., conducted post-mortem examination of the pilot at the facilities of the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office, Portland, Oregon, on July 7, 2002.

The FAA's Toxicology Accident and Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological evaluation of samples from the pilot. The reported findings were all negative (refer to attached TOX report).


On-site examination of the wreckage was conducted on July 6/7, 2002, after which the wreckage was verbally released to Lincoln City Towing for removal and security. The wreckage was subsequently released verbally to Mr. Tracy R. Barrus, Phoenix Aviation Managers, Inc. Written wreckage release was initiated on July 9, 2002, and is documented on NTSB Form 6120.15 (enclosed).

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance with power lines while conducting low altitude flight resulting in a loss of control and subsequent collision with terrain. Contributing factors were the pilot's low altitude flight and the power lines.

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