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N39952 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Woonsocket, SD
44.068043°N, 98.271199°W

Tail number N39952
Accident date 26 Oct 1993
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-181
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On October 26, 1993, at 0950 central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-28-181, N39952, registered to the Fagerholt Brothers Farming Association of Hoople, North Dakota, and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it collided with power lines and terrain. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The single occupant in the airplane was fatally injured. The flight departed Mitchell, South Dakota, at 0920 CDT.

N39952 departed Mitchell, South Dakota, with full fuel tanks. As the airplane was taxiing for takeoff, the pilot advised the unicom radio at the airport that he was departing Runway 30 and heading north toward Huron, South Dakota. A witness located approximately one mile east and one mile south of the accident site stated she observed the airplane flying at an altitude that a crop duster would fly at while traveling from field to field. She stated its wings were rocking.

Another witness driving on the four lane highway that N39952 crashed next to said he thought it was a low flying highway patrol airplane. This witness stated he estimated its altitude to be approximately 150 to 200 feet above the ground. Two occupants in a Chevrolet Suburban were acquainted with the pilot. These two individuals were driving north on the four lane highway when they observed the airplane pass over their vehicle in level flight. They stated N39952 passed overhead and collided with a wire crossing the highway. The witnesses said it was their impression that N39952's vertical stabilizer struck a wire before its descent to the ground.


The wreckage was located about 85 feet east of U.S. Highway 37, approximately 14 nautical miles south-southeast of the Huron Regional Airport, Huron, South Dakota. The airplane was at the north end of an irregularly shaped burned grass area measuring approximately 100' X 40'. The airplane was approximately 90 percent burned. The outer two-thirds of the right wing was found inverted and, along with the engine, survived the fire. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade was bent aft, approximately 80 degrees. This blade was gently curved forward outboard of the bend's origin point. The second blade was bowed forward; no other bending damage was observed on the propeller blade.

On December 8, 1993, N39952's engine was examined during disassembly. According to the Federal Aviation Administration's Principal Maintenance Inspector's report, "The tear-down revealed no indication of any engine malfunction or related accessory malfunction. The overall condition of the power plant was normal."


The autopsy on the pilot was conducted by LCM Pathologists, P.C. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, did the toxicological examination. The results of its examination were negative except 48.600 (ug/ml, ug/g) of acetaminophen was detected in the urine sample.

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