HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On February 6, 1999, at 1415 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-18-150, N8075D, piloted by private pilot/mechanic, was destroyed on impact with terrain following a total loss of engine power during initial climb from a private airstrip near Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The local flight originated from the private airstrip at 1415.
A witness located at the private airstrip stated that the pilot moved the aircraft out of a hanger, completed a preflight inspection and idled the engine on the ground for 8-10 minutes. The aircraft departed without the use of flaps, rolled about 1/2 down the runway and then climbed "OK" to an altitude of 500-600 feet agl when the engine stopped. He added that there were no unusual sounds. The aircraft then descended vertically.
A respondent to the accident reported that there was not an overwhelming smell of fuel. Another respondent reported a little smell of fuel but did not feel any sloshing of fuel when the aircraft's wings were turned over. He added that there was no puddling of fuel beneath the wings.
The pilot, age 23, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He also held a certified aircraft mechanic with airframe and powerplant ratings. The pilot reported a total flight time of 175 hours at the issuance of his a third class medical certificate on June 4, 1998.
The passenger, age 53, had occupied the rear seat of the aircraft and had obtained a third class medical certificate, without restrictions, on August 3, 1992.
A review of aircraft logbooks revealed an entry for an 100-hour inspection was completed by the pilot on June 26, 1996 at a tachometer time of 291.1 hours and a total airframe time of 2,325.1 hours. A second entry, below the first, was signed by an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization indicating that an annual inspection had been performed. A later entry without a date, airframe time or description of work was signed by the same airframe and powerplant mechanic indicating that an aircraft annual inspection had been performed.
An annual inspection of the engine was performed on June 28, 1997 at a tachometer time of 297.2 hours and a time since major overhaul of 6.1 hours.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft was resting on a magnetic heading of 320 degrees in a grass field located approximately 1/4 mi west southwest of the private airstrip. The accident site revealed no ground scarring to be present in the area around the resting position of the aircraft. There was no evidence of fire. The aircraft's wing leading edges and nose section exhibited a crush angle of approximately 45 degrees. Aileron, elevator and rudder flight control continuity was established. Elevator trim was in the neutral position. Examination of the carburetor bowl and accelerator pump did not reveal fuel. One drop of liquid was noted when the fuel line leading to the carburetor was disconnected. There was no liquid in each fuel tank. The engine tachometer showed 1,900 rpm and a time of 309.65 hours.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies were conducted by the Butte County Coroner on February 9, 1999.
Federal Aviation Administration Toxicological examinations were negative for all substances tested for the private rated pilot. FAA Toxicological results for the student rated pilot tested positive for Pseudoephedrine and Phenylpropanolamine. 102 (ug/ml, ug/g) of Acetaminophen was also detected.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The aircraft had last obtained 15.3 gallons of fuel at the Bell Fourche Airport on November 30, 1998. The aircraft had been fueled with 12.1 gallons of fuel on October 18, 1998 and 19.8 gallons on June 13, 1998.
The Federal Aviation Administration and Textron Lycoming were parties to the investigation.
The wreckage was released to Tri State Aviation on February 7, 1999.