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N82951 accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Frenchglen, OR
42.826827°N, 118.915478°W
Tail number N82951
Accident date 02 Mar 1994
Aircraft type Piper PA-18-150
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On March 2, 1994, at 1316 Pacific standard time (PST), a Piper PA-18-150, N82951, impacted the terrain about three miles east of Frenchglen, Oregon. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The personal pleasure flight, which departed Burns, Oregon, about 25 minutes earlier, was in visual meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed, and there was no report of an ELT activation.

According to a witness, the pilot had flown from Lewiston, Idaho, to Burns, Oregon, earlier in the day, arriving at the Burns Airport around 1230. While there, she had the aircraft refueled with 21.4 gallons of aviation fuel, and called a friend at a ranch near Frenchglen in order to make plans for landing on a dirt/gravel road near the ranch. During that telephone conversation, she asked the friend to make a "wind sock" and go to a portion of Steens Mountain Loop Road about one mile northeast of Page Dam. The friend said that the pilot had not landed on this road before, but had looked at it from the ground at an earlier date. The pilot said that she planned to land on the road, but if she was not able to land there, she would then proceed to an airstrip north of Frenchglen, and be picked up by car.

Upon arrival at the proposed landing site, the pilot descended to what the witness said was about 200 feet above the ground (AGL), and flew along the road from west to east. After passing by the friend and his makeshift wind sock at a "...fairly low speed...", the pilot made a left turn to the north, on what would be a crosswind portion of the pattern if the pilot was going to land going to the east. During the low pass and the turn to the north, the flaps were seen to be partially deployed to a setting that appeared to be 20 degrees or less.

At a point less than a quarter of a mile south of the impact site, the aircraft began a climb and a shallow right turn. While still climbing, the aircraft then began to bank left to about 30 degrees, at which time the witness, who was video taping the aircraft's approach, momentarily looked away to take a picture of his wind sock and its reaction to the current winds. According to the witness, he looked away from the aircraft for about five seconds, and when he looked back to where it should have been, the airplane was not able to be seen. A few moments later, the witness noticed black smoke and flames coming from where the aircraft had impacted the ground.


At the time of the accident the winds were blowing from approximately 170 degrees magnetic at a speed estimated by the witness to be around 15 to 20 knots. The video tape taken by the witness confirmed a significant southerly wind both during and after the accident. Because the wind was from the south, it presented an almost direct crosswind to the aircraft as it flew down the road, and then became an almost direct tailwind as the aircraft turned to the north and began the climbing turn.


The aircraft impacted the terrain about one-half mile north of Steens Mountain Loop Road, in an area of relatively flat prairie, sparsely covered by short dry grass . The impact site was at the 4,400 foot elevation, about one-eighth mile east of the eastern end of a 100 foot high hill/plateau. The aircraft engine was imbedded in the soft soil on a heading of 330 degrees, pointing 40 degrees nose down, and canted about ten degrees to the right. The left wing showed direct rearward crushing along its entire length. The right wing, which was destroyed by fire from the flap inboard, was crushed backwards at about a 30 degree angle on its outboard four feet. The two outboard compression struts were kinked and crushed backwards. Both wing lift struts were still attached at the fuselage and at both spar attach points. Except for the bending and twisting of the front half of the cabin area, the fuselage was essentially intact, but burned back into the area of the empennage. The instrument panel was destroyed by the impact and fire. Control continuity was established for the rudder, elevator, and both ailerons.

Both propeller blades showed "S" curving and a considerable amount of chordwise scarring. One blade had numerous leading edge indentations along the outer one-third of its span. The propeller could be easily turned by hand, and mechanical continuity was established from the crankshaft to the pistons, valves, and accessory section.


An autopsy was performed by Central Oregon Pathology Consultants, P.C., of Bend, Oregon. The primary cause of death was listed as "... severe blunt trauma injuries..."

A forensic toxicological analysis was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology and Research Laboratory, and no carboxyhemoglobin, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs were detected.

The aircraft was released to Frontier Aviation Adjusters, a representative of the owner, on 3/5/94, at Redmond, Oregon.

NTSB Probable Cause


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