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N888KS accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Phillips, WI
45.696626°N, 90.400430°W

Tail number N888KS
Accident date 04 Aug 1998
Aircraft type Cessna A185F
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On August 4, 1998, approximately 0800 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna A185F, N888KS, owned and operated by an instrument rated commercial pilot, was observed to depart from the Bong Airport, near Superior, Wisconsin. The aircraft was reported missing and was located, near Phillips, Wisconsin, on August 26, 1998, after an extensive search. Both occupants had sustained fatal injuries and were found within the destroyed airplane. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of departure and an AIRMET for IFR conditions with precipitation covered the route of flight. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The flight was en route to Austin Straubel International Airport, Green Bay, Wisconsin, so the pilot and passenger could attend a business meeting.


The pilot was born August 23, 1947. He was the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with single engine land, multi- engine land, single engine sea, instrument, and glider ratings. He also held a second class medical certificate issued on June 15, 1998. The medical certificate contained a limitation for corrective lenses. At the time of his last medical examination the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,500 hours.


N888KS was a Cessna A185F, serial number 18503905. The airplane was equipped with a Continental IO-520-D, 285 horsepower engine. The airplane was equipped with floats, a Robertson STOL kit, and leading edge cuffs. The airplane and engine had accumulated approximately 1,032 hours of total time at the time of the accident. The most recent annual inspection was conducted on April 16, 1998, approximately 68 hours prior to the accident. The airplane was refueled with 57.8 gallons of fuel on August 3, 1998.


AIRMET SIERRA was in affect for occasional ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibilities below 3 miles with clouds and precipitation. This AIRMET covered an area south of a line from Duluth, Minnesota, to 30 miles northeast of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The area forecast for the State of Wisconsin valid from August 4, 1998 at 0445 cdt until 2300 cdt reported 2,000 foot broken ceilings with tops layered to FL250. Visibilities 3 to 5 miles with light rain and mist with widely scattered light rain showers.

The weather reported at the Bong Airport, Superior, Wisconsin, on August 4, 1998, at 0756 cdt, was 300 feet overcast, 5 miles visibility with fog, wind from 040 at 8 knots, temperature 65 degrees F, dewpoint 63 degrees F, and altimeter 30.16". The 0817 cdt observation was 700 feet overcast, 7 miles visibility, wind from 050 at 8 knots gusting to 14 knots, temperature 65 degrees F, dewpoint 63 degrees F, and altimeter 30.17".

The weather reported at the Price County Airport, Phillips, Wisconsin, on August 4, 1998, at 0842 cdt was 5,000 feet scattered, 10 miles visibility, wind from 080 degrees at 3 knots, temperature 65 degrees F, dewpoint 58 degrees F, and altimeter 30.19". The 0902 cdt weather was 5,000 feet overcast, 10 miles visibility, wind from 070 degrees at 3 knots, temperature 67 degrees F, dewpoint 60 degrees F, and altimeter 30.19". Local authorities reported the weather in the area near the accident site consisted of fog and light rain showers on the morning of the accident.

There were no records located to indicate that the pilot received a weather briefing prior to the flight.


There were no known communications between N888KS and any Air Traffic Control Facilities.


The NTSB investigation began at 1100 cdt, on August 27, 1998. The airplane had come to rest in a heavily wooded area within the Chequamegon National Forest. The accident site was located approximately 16 miles southeast of the Price County Airport Phillips, Wisconsin, at coordinates N45:38.827' and W090:02.883'. The wreckage path was approximately 165 feet long on a heading of 130 degrees. Elevation at the site was approximately 1,800 feet above mean sea level. The airplane initially impacted trees which were 10 to 14 inches in diameter. A slice was located in one of the trees. The outboard section of the right wing was the first piece of airplane located along the wreckage path. The inboard section of the right wing was located approximately 60 feet from the first tree impact. The outboard section of the left wing was located approximately 120 feet from the first impact followed by the main wreckage which was located at a point approximately 165 feet from the first tree impact.

The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post impact fire. The empennage came to rest with the main cabin, the floats, the inboard section of the left wing, and the engine and propeller. Continuity of the elevator and rudder control cables was established from the control column and rudder pedals to the aft bellcrank assemblies. The aileron control cables were attached to their bellcranks and they exhibited signs of tension overload (broom sticking) at the wing root pulley assemblies. The flaps surfaces and the flap handle were in the retracted position.

The engine was located with the main wreckage. The firewall was crushed around the accessory section. The crankshaft was separated at the propeller mounting flange. The right forward cylinder had sustained heavy impact damage. The left cylinders sustained fire/heat damage. The propeller governor was destroyed by impact. Both magnetos had sustained internal heat damage. The fuel pump coupling was intact. The pump sustained fire damage and could not be turned by hand. The fuel manifold screen was clean. The throttle body on the mixture control unit was burned and the screen was clean. The engine could not be rotated by hand due to damage sustained in the accident. The oil sump was removed and examination of the internal parts of the engine appeared normal.

The emergency locator transmitter was located in the wreckage. The unit was intact, but it had disconnected from the antenna cable.


Radar data shows a primary target traveling on a straight track to the southeast. The track begins southeast of the departure airport and intermittently continues to a point southeast of Phillips, Wisconsin. The last radar hit occurred at 0911 cdt. The altitude of the last 7 radar hits vary between 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and 2,200 feet msl. The terrain elevation at the accident site was approximately 1,800 feet msl.


A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, on August 27, 1998.

The pilot's toxicological analysis was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological examination revealed the following: 6.24 ug/ml Diphenhydramine detected in the liver, 0.208 ug/ml Paroxetine detected in the muscle, and 24.4 ug/ml Paroxetine detected in the liver.

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine commonly used in over-the counter cold/allergy medications. Paroxetine is a prescription antidepressant which is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks.


Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Teledyne Continental Motors, and Cessna Aircraft Company.

Following the on-scene portion of the investigation, the wreckage was released to an insurance representative on August 28, 1998.

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