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N2931Z accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Beaver Dam, WI
43.442770°N, 88.815939°W

Tail number N2931Z
Accident date 28 Aug 1998
Aircraft type Piper PA-22-150
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 28, 1998, at 0815 central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-22-150, N2913Z, owned and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed on impact with water while maneuvering over Beaver Dam Lake near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated at Bed-Ah-Wick Private Airstrip near Princeton, Wisconsin and was en route to Palmyra Municipal Airport (88C) near Palmyra, Wisconsin at approximately 0750 CDT.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a witness reported that the pilot had departed from his privately owned airstrip and was en route to 88C for an 0830 CDT annual inspection of the aircraft. The witness went on to say that the pilot would fly to Palmyra for his annual aircraft inspections and return several hours later, in the afternoon. The witness also reported that the pilot would like to cruise at altitudes that were approximately 2,000 feet to 3,000 feet above ground level (agl) and would not fly into clouds. The witness further stated that the pilot would not go into marginal weather conditions unless he had an appointment. The witness reported that the pilot obtained the weather for the flight, prior to departure, by watching the weather from the television.

The mechanic that was going to perform the annual inspection reported that he did not think that the pilot would be coming because of the weather. In describing the pilot's weather flying, the mechanic stated, "he (the pilot) liked to push it".

Another witness located in his house heard an aircraft fly overhead and three minutes later saw the aircraft come over the lake below tree top level in an east southeast direction and then impact the lake. The witness reported that intermittent rain was present at the time of the accident.

A witness at Beaver Dam Lake stated that he had first heard and then seen the accident aircraft come out of the clouds at approximately 100 feet agl to 150 feet agl with no unusual engine sounds or sputtering. The witness added that the aircraft impacted at a steep attitude.

A third witness stated that he heard an aircraft and then saw an aircraft come towards him circling until he lost sight of the aircraft when it reached the tree line along the lake. He heard the engine running with no changes in engine noise when it hit the lake. He reported that the aircraft was flying fast and that there was no explosion. He reported the weather as being overcast with fog.


The pilot was 57 years old and the holder of a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating with an estimated total flight time of 827 hours, of which 667 hours were in the accident aircraft. The pilot was issued a third class medical with no restrictions or waivers on May 7, 1998. The pilot had received a biennial flight review on August 19, 1997 which was 1.2 hours in duration and had flown approximately 21 hours since that date based upon engine tachometer time. The pilot had logged a total of 2 hours of in-flight simulated instrument time since his first flight entry on November 2, 1967. There are no further flight entries after the pilot's last biennial flight review in the pilot's logbook.


The Piper PA-22-150, serial number 22-6903, N2931Z, had a total time of 2,085 hours at the time of the accident. An annual inspection was performed on September 15, 1997 at 2,064 hours. All Airworthiness Directives (ADs) relating to the airframe were accomplished and current. The Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) related inspections required by Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91 pertaining to the altimeter system and the pitot static system for instrument flight were not complied with.

The engine, Textron Lycoming 0-320-A2B, serial number L-9874-27, is a four-cylinder, air-cooled, direct-drive, horizontally-opposed normally aspirated reciprocating engine rated at 150 hp at 2,700 rpm. The engine was overhauled on October 4, 1967 and had a time since overhaul of 557 hours at the time of the accident. All ADs relating to the engine were accomplished and current.


AIRMET Sierra was issued for the State of Wisconsin for IFR conditions and was valid until 0900 CDT. The Aeronautical Information Manual defines an AIRMET as, "In-flight weather advisories issued only to amend area forecasts concerning weather phenomena which are of operational interest to all aircraft and potentially hazardous to aircraft having limited capability because of a lack of equipment, instrumentation or pilot qualifications...".

The nearest weather reporting station at the time of the pilot's departure from Bed-Ah-Wick Private Airstrip was Oshkosh, Wisconsin which is located approximately 27 nautical miles northeast, and was reporting, at 0753 CDT, the wind to be 310 degrees at 7 knots, a 2-1/2 statue mile visibility in mist, a ceiling of 700 feet agl overcast variable from 400 feet agl to 1,200 feet agl, a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (C) ,a dew point of 20 degrees C and a pressure of 29.96 inches of mercury (Hg).

At the time of the of accident, the nearest weather reporting station was Juneau, Wisconsin which is located approximately 13 nautical miles southeast of the accident site.

At 0740 CDT, Juneau, Wisconsin was reporting, wind to be from 220 degrees at 5 knots, 1-3/4 statue mile visibility, fog, an overcast ceiling of 600 feet agl, a temperature and dew point of 21 degrees C and a pressure of 29.97 inches of Hg.

At 0819 CDT, Juneau, Wisconsin was reported, wind to be from 230 degrees at 6 knots, 2 statue mile visibility, fog, an overcast ceiling of 600 feet agl, a temperature and dew point of 21 degrees C, and a pressure of 29.97 inches of Hg.

The FAA reported that the pilot did not receive a weather briefing from a Flight Service Station. Advisory Circular AC 00-45D, Aviation Weather Services, states, "In the interest of safety and in the compliance with Federal Aviation Regulation, all pilots should get a complete weather briefing before each flight." Furthermore, Advisory Circular 61-21A, Flight Training Handbook, Chapter 13, Emergency Flight By Reference to Instruments, provides guidance in developing the ability to maneuver an airplane for limited periods by reference to flight instruments. The chapter goes on to say, "Low ceilings, rain, and fog continue to head the list in the fatal, weather-involved general aviation accidents. The pilot involvement is usually the result of inadequate preflight preparation and/or planning, continued VFR flight into adverse conditions, and attempted operation beyond the pilot's experience/ability level.".


The aircraft was equipped with one VHF Omnirange Range Receiver (VOR). There was no record of VOR accuracy checks found. One handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver was found. The GPS receiver was not certified for IFR flight.

A 1968 Wisconsin Aeronautical Chart was found in the aircraft with a red direct course line from Bed-Ah-Wick Private Airstrip to 88C drawn on it.


The destination airport (88C) is served by Runway 09-27 (2,070 feet by 200 feet, turf) and does not have an instrument approach procedure.


The NTSB's on-site investigation began at 1400 CDT on August 28, 1998.

The airframe was resting in a nose down attitude on a southwesterly heading approximately 1,750 feet from the southern shore of Beaver Dam Lake, in 5 feet of water. The left wing was attached to the airframe and measured to be 10 feet in length from the root to the tip. The right wing exhibited bending in the aft direction 5 feet from the root. Approximately 1/4 of the upper section of empennage was above the surface of the water and was later estimated to have bent 30 degrees upwards relative to the aircraft's centerline. The cabin area exhibited rearward crushing up to the midpoint of the cabin. The nose wheel and its respective strut assembly were found detached at the nose attach points and twisted counterclockwise as viewed from above the aircraft. The right main wheel was found detached and the left main landing gear attached to the fuselage.

Aileron, rudder and elevator flight control continuity was established.

The engine was not intact with the airframe and was not found by divers. The portions of the engine that were recovered were the butterfly valve of the carburetor, several pieces of black hosing, the alternator and 1/2 of the oil dipstick assembly with the dipstick still attached.

The propeller was not found.

The left and right fuel wing tanks were compromised; however, divers reported skin irritation during the recovery as well as the smell of fuel which was also evident to the NTSB.

Inspection of the instruments revealed the airspeed indicator needle to be at the 110 mph position, the tachometer to be indicating approximately 2,150 rpm and the attitude indicator to be at a 30 degree right bank and 40 degrees nose down. Internal examination of the attitude indicator found evidence of operation. The left fuel indicator was indicating just below a half of a tank of fuel and the right fuel indicator was indicating 3/4 of a tank of fuel. The altimeter setting was set to 30.08 inches of Hg and was indicating 1,100 feet mean sea level.

The tachometer reading at the accident site was 2,085.26 hours.


An autopsy was conducted by Dodge County, Wisconsin on August 28, 1998, at 1400 CDT.

Toxicological tests were negative for all substances tested.


There was no evidence of burning or smoke residue on the airframe or engine cowling.


The FAA was a party to the investigation.

Upon completion of the on-site investigation, the wreckage was released to Beaver Aviation Incorporated on August 29, 1998.

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