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On March 22, 1999, at 1330 central standard time, a Cessna A188B, N5706G, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain near Atwood, Kansas. The 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot sustained fatal injuries in the accident. The flight originated from Atwood-Rawlins County City-County Airport near Atwood, Kansas at approximately 1245.
A witness stated that the airplane made many passes at an altitude of 20-30 feet above ground level while spraying for worms at a 20-30 acre alfalfa field. The witness further stated that upon reaching the ends of the field, the airplane would pitch up, bank, reverse direction, and then begin another pass. During the last reversal, the witness reported that the airplane turned towards the right, heading on a northwesterly direction, when the airplane went behind a row of trees. He said that a "puff" of smoke came up and he went to see what happened. When he arrived at the scene, he stated the cockpit was on fire and the fire was giving off black smoke.
A record showed that the operator was contracted to spray 80 acres of alfalfa for worms with the Zeneca Ag Products insecticide named Warrior T. The record further showed that the operator was informed that trees were an obstacle at this location.
The pilot was 70 years old and the holder of a commercial pilot certificate. He held a special issuance Second Class Medical Certificate with limitations. This special issuance medical certificate was for a history of pacemaker implantation and diabetes mellitus. The limitations were that he must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision, the second class privileges are limited to crop dusting, and this medical is valid for 6 months following the month examined. The medical was issued January 21, 1999. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show he had an estimated 12,450 hours of flight time with 20 hours of flight time within the last 90 days and 900 hours of flight in the accident type airplane.
The airplane was a Cessna A188B with serial number 18801136T. The airplane's special airworthiness certificate for the restricted category was issued April 24, 1973. The registration certificate showed that it was issued to Sunflower Aero Inc., on October 16, 1998.
According to the aircraft logbook, the last recorded inspection was an annual inspection. The annual was completed on June 24, 1998. The logbook showed the airplane had 3,396.7 hours on the tachometer at the annual. The airplane had 3,440 hours total time at the time of the accident.
At 1353, the McCook Municipal Airport, McCook, Nebraska surface weather observation, located at latitude 40 degrees 13' N, longitude 100 degrees 35' W, 2579 feet above mean sea level, was: Wind 030 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 18; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition overcast at 3,100 feet above ground level; temperature 7 degrees centigrade; dew point -1 degree centigrade; altimeter setting 29.98 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident airplane's wreckage came to rest 130-degrees from and 300 feet away from its initial tree impact. This initial tree was located at latitude 39 degrees 49.491' N, longitude 101 degrees 05.462' W and it was approximately 100 feet tall.
Trees between 100 to 220 feet from the initial impact tree reveal broken branches and branches that had cut marks. The path of broken and cut branches through the trees was also on a 130-degree heading. The first ground impact mark was 260 feet away on a 130-degree heading from the initial tree impact.
The cockpit cage was found intact. The engine had broken off and was found 10 feet left of the empennage. The airplane burned except for the outboard sections of the wings. The pilot was found out of the airplane at a position left of the cockpit.
The engine had its propeller attached. The oil sump, induction, and exhaust systems were crushed. Wood was found in the front of the engine. Engine continuity was found between the propeller and the accessory section.
One propeller blade had been bent in s-shaped waves. Cordwise scratching was found on its face. The outboard section of the other propeller blade was twisted forward 45-degrees from its original position. Its tip was broken off in an area that was bent forward.
The altimeter indicated 5,600 feet and the barometric window indicated 30.02 inches of mercury. Engine controls were found with the propeller, throttle, and mixture full forward. The flap handle was found in the up position. The fuel valve was found with the handle in the on position. Fuel flow indicator showed 8 gallons per hour and manifold pressure gauge indicated 21 inches of mercury.
The on-scene inspection of the airplane revealed there was continuity of all flight control connections. The engine inspection found no evidence of preimpact anomalies.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
FAA records showed that, two months prior to the accident, the pilot received a cardiology evaluation including a Cardiolite treadmill examination. The evaluation revealed no evidence of symptomatic heart disease.
The autopsy was performed on March 24, 1999 at the Shawnee County Morgue, Topeka, Kansas.
The toxicological examination conducted by the FAA's Civil Aero Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs.
A witness stated that he saw the cockpit in flames on his first arrival at the scene. He said that he left the site and upon his return, he reported that the wings were catching on fire. This smoke was reported as black in color.
The parties to the investigation included the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft, and Teledyne Continental Motors.
The wreckage was released to a representative of Sunflower Aero Incorporated.