NTSB Identification: FTW03FA086.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 21, 2003 in Norman, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N47257
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 3,300-hour commercial pilot lost control of the airplane while circling an area of disturbed dirt along the path of a buried pipeline during an aerial observation flight (pipeline patrol). The operator reported that pipeline patrolling is normally performed from an altitude of 400 to 500 feet above the ground. The range of the airplane, when all tanks are full of fuel is 6 hours; however, the company procedures are to not exceed 4 hours between refueling stops. The operator reported that the pipeline being patrolled at the time of the accident was aligned on a heading of 50-60 degrees. The prevailing winds at the time of the accident were reported from 030 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 19 knots. The hand-held GPS on-board the airplane provided the track of the airplane to impact with the ground. No anomalies were found with the airframe or engine that could have prevented normal flight operation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering, resulting in an inadvertent stall . Factors contributing to the accident were the low altitude and the prevailing high winds.

Full narrative available

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