NTSB Identification: CHI95FA012.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, October 16, 1994 in WINFIELD, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-161, registration: N9089U
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT CONTACTED ATC AND REPORTED THAT HE WAS 'GOING DOWN.' CONTROLLER INQUIRIES FAILED TO REVEAL THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM. ACCORDING TO WITNESSES, THE AIRPLANE WAS IN LEVEL FLIGHT AT LOW ALTITUDE, THEN WITHOUT SLOWING, IT SUDDENLY WENT IN A 30 TO 40 DEGREE DESCENT. ACCORDING TO ONE WITNESS, IT CONTINUED IN THE DIVE WITH THE ENGINE AT A HIGH POWER SETTING AND DID NOT VEER FROM ITS COURSE, AS THOUGH THE PLANE WAS IN A DELIBERATE DIVE. IMPACT WITH THE GROUND OCCURRED AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED, AND THE AIRPLANE WAS DESTROYED. FRIENDS REPORTED THAT THE PILOT HAD BECOME VISIBLY UPSET AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF BUZZING A COLLEGE CAMPUS TWO DAYS BEFORE THE ACCIDENT. TWO OF HIS FRIENDS, WHO WERE ABOARD DURING THE ALLEGED BUZZING, STATED THAT HE MADE STATEMENTS THAT HIS ESTATE/PARENTS WOULD TAKE CARE OF ANY LEGAL FEES THEY INCURRED AND THAT THE ONLY WAY THEY WOULD NOT BE BOTHERED WAS IF HE DIDN'T LAND THE AIRPLANE. A SHERIFF'S REPORT CONCLUDED THAT THE OCCURRENCE WAS 'PROBABLY SUICIDAL IN NATURE.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

COLLISION WITH THE GROUND FOR AN UNDETERMINED REASON. THE PILOT'S PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION WAS A PROBABLE FACTOR.

Full narrative available

Index for Oct1994 | Index of months