NTSB Identification: MIA96FA148.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 05, 1996 in GREENVILLE, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/22/1996
Aircraft: Aeronca O-58B, registration: N49546
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 had flown into the area, picked up a passenger, and had just departed the airport when the airplane struck a power line that crossed over the lake he was flying over. The airplane then impacted the lake and sank. The passenger stated that the reason they were flying over the lake 'at such a low altitude,' was that they were 'just sightseeing...[and] did not see the wires.' A witness standing on the shore near the boat docks observed the airplane fly directly over his location, heading in a northwesterly direction. He stated that the airplane flew low over him and had cleared the tops of the trees by an estimated altitude of '1 to 200 feet.' After the airplane past over him and was heading away from him, over the lake, he said to another person 'I bet he didn't know about the power lines...since he was flying so low.' About that time the witness heard the airplane strike the wires. The witness further stated, '...in my opinion the aircraft was developing power and operating normally up until impact.' Examination of the airframe revealed a wire strike mark on the leading edge about mid-span of the left wing. Examination of the engine did not reveal any discrepancies. The wooden propeller was still attached to the crankshaft flange, but the tips of both blades were missing. A search was conducted on the bottom of the lake for the missing propeller blades, with negative results. The power lines in the vicinity of the crash site consisted of 8 cables supported by two towers located on both sides of the lake. The cables crossed the lake in an east-west direction. The bottom cables were about 50 feet above the lake, and the top cables were about 150 feet above the lake. The third cable from the top, had been repaired, and according to the police, the cable was broken before they had arrived at the crash site.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance from power lines while maneuvering at a low altitude.

Full narrative available

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