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N63319 accident description

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Crash location 43.769445°N, 87.851944°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Sheboygan, WI
43.784995°N, 87.766476°W
4.4 miles away

Tail number N63319
Accident date 07 Jun 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 172P
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 7, 2003, at 2145 central daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N63319, operated by a private pilot was destroyed during impact with the terrain at the Sheboygan Municipal Airport (SBM), Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The personal flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was filed for the planned flight from SBM to the Wausau Downtown Airport (AUW), Wausau, Wisconsin.

A certified flight instructor (CFI) at Wausau Flying Service stated he saw the pilot and passenger at AUW prior to their flight to SBM. He stated the pilot was assigned to take a different airplane, but during the preflight the pilot noted the landing light was not working. The CFI stated the pilot elected to wait until N63319 returned from a flight so he could take an airplane with an operable landing light. The CFI reported he fueled N63319 while the pilot was performing his preflight. The passenger stated to the flight instructor that they were going to motorcycle races in Sheboygan. The CFI stated N63319 departed AUW between 1545 and 1600. The CFI also stated that he flew N63319 on four of its last five flights, and there were no problems with the operation of the airplane during these flights.

The pilot's father-in-law stated he picked up the pilot and his passenger at SBM when they landed a little after 1700. He stated they went to dinner then to the races at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds. He stated the races ended about 2110 and they arrived back at the airport between 2125 and 2130.

The father-in-law stated that upon reaching SBM the pilot performed a preflight inspection on the airplane. He recalled the pilot checking the flight controls and commenting that the fuel tanks were pretty full. He stated the pilot started the airplane, the runway lights came on, and the airplane began to taxi to the east at which time he left the airport. He stated he did not see the airplane takeoff nor did he know which runway was used for takeoff.

The accident was reported to the Sheriff's Department at 2147. Members of the Sheriff's Department and the local fire department arrived at the airport at 2152. The Sheriff's report stated moderate to heavy fog conditions were present at the airport when they arrived. A thermal imager was used and the wreckage was located at 2234.

There were no known eyewitnesses to the accident, nor was anyone located who saw which runway the airplane used for takeoff.

The person who reported the accident to the Sheriff's Department reported he heard the airplane when he went outside around 2145. He stated he believed he saw the flashing lights from the airplane, but it was very foggy and he was unable to see the runway lights. He reported he heard "the engine rev very loud and then a very loud and solid sounding thud."

An individual, who is an aircraft mechanic, stated he was outside at his residence on the north side of the airport when the accident occurred. He reported hearing an aircraft engine go to "full power" followed by the sound of an impact. The witness stated he and a friend took flashlights and headed for the gate on the north side of the airport. He stated the fog was so thick that they were not able to see each other when standing 30 feet apart. The witness stated they were the first ones to locate the airplane and they were eventually able to get the attention of the fire department that was also searching the airport.

Two other individuals who live on the north side of the airport reported hearing a loud engine noise, then a noise which was described as a "car door slamming shut", followed by silence. They stated they went to their back door and looked out, and were not able to see more then 50 to 100 feet because of the fog. The accident site is located about 600 feet from their house and they were unable to see the airplane. They stated that later in the evening when the fire department had lights shining on the airplane, they were able to see the airplane for a short time before it was once again obscured by fog.


The pilot, age 32, received a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating on August 30, 1996. The last entry in the pilot's flight logbook is dated May 26, 2003. As of that date the pilot had accumulated a total of 150.2 flight hours. Of his total time, 123.5 hours were logged as pilot-in-command time, and 126.4 hours were flown in Cessna 172 aircraft. The pilot logged 3.8 hours of simulated instrument flight time. The logbook did not contain a record of any actual instrument flight time.

The pilot's logbook contained an endorsement that the pilot had "Pilot Proficiency Program - Wings 1satisfactorily completed the training requirements outlined in Advisory Circular 61-91H, paragraph 7a."

The pilot's last Federal Aviation Administration medical certificate was issued on July 20, 2000. On that date, the pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate with the limitation "Holder shall wear corrective lenses."


The airplane was a Cessna 172P, s/n 17275421. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show that at the time of the accident the airplane was registered to the Stick and Rudder Club in Waukegan, Illinois. A bill of sale showed that Wausau Flying Service purchased N63319 on April 24, 2003. FAA records indicated that on August 6, 2003, a registration certificate was issued showing Wausau Flying Service as the owner of the airplane.

Airframe logbook records show the airplane had an annual inspection on March 21, 2003, at a total airframe time of 7861.9 hours. The tach time was 1068.3 at the time of the inspection. The last maintenance recorded in the logbook was an oil and filter change on May 13, 2003, at a tach time of 1118.5 hours. The tach time at the time of the accident was 1149.2 hours.

N63319 was powered by a Lycoming O-320-D2J, 160 horsepower engine. According to engine logbook records, the last annual inspection on the engine was performed on March 21, 2003. The engine had a total time in service of 7931.2 hours with a total time since overhaul of 1221.2 hours at the time of that inspection. There are no entries in the logbook since the annual inspection.


A weather observation station, located at SBM, recorded the weather as:

Observation Time: 2125 cdt Wind: 090 degrees at 3 knots Visibility: 1 1/4 statute miles, mist Sky Condition: 100 feet scattered Temperature: 9 degrees Celsius Dew Point: 8 degrees Celsius Pressure: 29.79

Observation Time: 2130 cdt Wind: 060 degrees at 4 knots Visibility: 3/4 statute mile, mist Sky Condition: 100 feet broken Temperature: 8 degrees Celsius Dew Point: 8 degrees Celsius Pressure: 29.79 inches of mercury

Observation Time: 2141 cdt Wind: 060 degrees at 4 knots Visibility: 1/4 statute mile, fog Sky Condition: 100 feet indefinite ceiling Temperature: 8 degrees Celsius Dew Point 8 degrees Celsius Pressure: 29.79 inches of Mercury

Observation Time: 2153 cdt Wind: 070 degrees at 3 knots Visibility: 1/4 statute mile, fog Sky Condition: 100 feet indefinite ceiling Temperature: 9 degrees Celsius Dew Point: 9 degrees Celsius Pressure: 29.29 inches of Mercury

The pilot's father-in-law stated the pilot made a couple of cell phone calls to check the weather while they were on their way back to the airport. Cell phone records indicate the pilot called the automated surface observation system (ASOS) for Wausau, Wisconsin at 2221, the ASOS for Oshkosh, Wisconsin at 2122, and the ASOS for SBM at 2123. Each of these calls are listed as having lasted for one minute.

The flight crew of a Citation that was inbound to SBM shortly after the accident reported they were unable to receive the ASOS information over their aircraft radio. On June 9, 2003, a log entry for the SBM ASOS stated, "GRB AFSS/JR REP MANY PIREPS REP ASOS BROADCAST OTS 110.0 MHZ AOM/RD ADVISED." On June 10, 2003 the following log entries were made for the VOR: "Time 1430, Arrived at Site, start maintenance investigating problem with ASOS audio broadcast over VOR problem. Time 1730, Completed Equipment Maintenance on SYS/found bad connection ASOS audio terminated in the FCPU [Facility Central Processor Unit]. Re-crimped connectors and ASOS audio feed to VOR restored to normal. Time 2233, LOST COMM." On June 11, 2002, "Time 0225, MCI/GORDON REPORTS PROBLEM FOUND BY AMERITECH WAS A DIRTY JACK RTS."

The pilot's father-in-law stated there was a bit of fog rolling into the area and they noticed a temperature change from when they were at the racetrack to when they arrived at the airport. He stated the temperature at the racetrack was "comfortable" and that it was cooler at the airport when they arrived. He also stated that once he left the airport and got a couple miles away, the fog became thick to the point where he had to slow down driving in order to see.

The witness who was on his front porch when he heard the impact stated that prior to the accident, he and others who were with him commented about the fog. He stated they could see the ground fog rolling in from the north and clear sky above the fog.

Two other witnesses stated that at the time of the impact, they were unable to see more then 50 to 100 feet because of the fog.


The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) on-scene investigation began on June 8, 2003.

The main wreckage was located on the northwest section of airport property approximately 1,700 feet north of the intersection of runways 13 and 21. A global positioning system (GPS) receiver recorded the position of the main wreckage as 43-degrees 46-minutes 9-seconds north latitude, 87-degrees 51-minutes 06-seconds west longitude.

The first impact mark along the wreckage path was approximately 180 feet east of the main wreckage. The wreckage path continued on a magnetic heading of 264 degrees up to the main wreckage. The ground scars began in a plowed dirt field and continued into an area of tall vegetation. Pieces of red plastic along with pieces of the left wing tip were located near the initial ground scar. Also scattered along the wreckage path were the nose gear, the left wing strut, and pieces of the windshield, engine cowling, and the left main landing gear.

The aircraft came to rest on a heading of 196 degrees magnetic. The airplane was located in a grass field next to a tree line. There were two trees branches next to the field that appeared to have been freshly broken. Photographs taken by the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office on the night of the accident show the airplane came to rest in a near vertical position. The fuselage was pulled to the ground prior to the Safety Board's arrival in order to remove the aircraft occupants.

The lower fuselage from the landing gear rearward was damaged, but intact. The upper portion of the cabin and baggage area was separated from the remainder of the fuselage. The forward fuselage, including the engine and instrument panel, were crushed aft and upward.

The tailcone and empennage were intact. There were wrinkles on the bottom of the tailcone under the horizontal stabilizer. The left horizontal stabilizer was not damaged. The tip and outboard leading edge of the right horizontal stabilizer were crushed, as was the outboard end of the right elevator. The upper leading edge portion of the vertical stabilizer had an area approximately 6 inches wide that was crushed rearward. There were leaves and grass embedded in this area.

Both wings and the cockpit overhead area were located on the ground next to the main wreckage. The right wing remained attached to the cabin overhead area. The outboard leading edge of the wing from a point mid-span of the aileron to the tip was crushed aft with the compression damage increasing toward the wing tip. The outboard half of the aileron was separated and found on the ground under the inboard section of aileron that was still attached to the wing. The inboard two feet of the right wing along with the overhead cockpit area were covered with dirt.

The left wing was separated from the overhead cockpit section. The leading edge of the left wing was crushed along the entire wing span. The left wing was damaged from the leading edge to the trailing edge at the flap/aileron junction. The outboard 24 inches were bent upward with the outboard section of the wing being pushed rearward.

The right wing flap was in the retracted position and the left flap was slightly extended. The flap handle was in a position that equated to approximately 5 degrees of flap extension.

Flight control continuity was established from the flight control surfaces to the corresponding flight controls in the cockpit. The magneto switch was found in the "Off' position and the key was not located. The throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat controls were full forward against their stops. The fuel primer was in and locked. Fire/rescue personnel had cut the seat belts and shoulder harnesses for the pilot and passenger.

The fuel selector handle was found to be positioned slightly right of the "Off" position so that the edge of the indicator was partially covering the dashed line on the face plate. The fuel valve was removed from the airplane and the position of the valve was found to be between the "Off" and "Right" detents. The selector linkage was bent forward and intact through the valve and selector handle. Blue fuel was present in the right wing. Fuel lines were severed at numerous locations throughout the fuel system. There was no evidence of fuel spillage along the wreckage path; however, heavy rains occurred on the night of the accident and the ground was saturated.

The directional gyro and the artificial horizon instruments were both disassembled. The gyro housings were still suspended in their gimbals and there was no rotation scoring noted on the cases. The vacuum pump rotated freely. The pump was disassembled and the vanes, rotor, and coupling were intact.

The engine was lying upside down alongside the fuselage. With the exception of some fluid lines, wires, and cables, the engine was separated from its engine mounts and firewall. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Both propeller blades were bent aft. One was bent aft 90 degrees at mid-length with the blade tip being bent back an additional 90 degrees. The outboard half of the other blade was bent back with the bent portion being twisted.

The engine was removed to a hangar at SBM where a teardown inspection was conducted. The carburetor was sheared off the engine. The carburetor was opened and a small amount of fuel was present in the bowl. Rub marks were noted on the side of the bowl next to the cotter pin that holds the float shaft in place. Corresponding wear marks were noted on the tip of the cotter pin.

The number 1 cylinder rocker box cover and cooling fins sustained impact damage and the number 3 cylinder had minor damage to the rocker box cover. Impact damage was also visible on the bottom of the engine. The spark plugs were removed. All indicated wear which could be associated with normal operation of the engine. Several of the plugs were oil soaked. Others contained fire-fighting foam. The engine was rotated at the vacuum pump drive and continuity was confirmed throughout the engine. Thumb compression and suction was achieved on all cylinders when the engine was rotated. The left magneto produced spark on all leads as the engine turned. The leads on the right magneto were damaged at the cap. The magneto was removed from the engine. A wire was placed in each lead hole at the cap and spark was confirmed on each lead when the magneto was turned by hand. A lighted boroscope was used to inspect the inside of the cylinders and no discrepancies were noted. There was an accumulation of fire-fighting foam inside the number 4 cylinder.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the St. Nicholas Hospital, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on June 8, 2003.

A Forensic Toxi

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