On February 13, 1994, at 1633 hours central standard time, a Piper Tomahawk PA-38-112, N23797, operated as a rental aircraft by Thunderbird Aviation, Inc., of Minneapolis, Minnesota, impacted static lines between power poles on final approach to Runway 27R at Flying Cloud Airport, Eden Prairie, Minnesota. A section of the right wing leading edge and upper surface departed the aircraft. The aircraft came to rest approximately 300 feet further on the flight path and was destroyed. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and a VFR flight plan was on file. The flight was operated under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Eden Prairie, MN, as a student solo cross country. At 1550 hours the pilot departed on a return leg from a refueling stop at Olivia, MN (Y39).

A review of the Air Traffic Control tape indicates the pilot initially contacted the tower and incorrectly reported his position as 10 miles southwest of tha airport. Initial tower instructions were to expect a landing on runway 27L. The tower determined the airplanes' actual position to be north-northwest of the airport using tower radar. The controller gave the pilot vectors to the field and handed him off to the north tower controller. The pilot was cleared to land on runway 27R. An aircraft in the pattern following the mishap aircraft asked the tower what the Tomahawk's intentions were. The tower controller responded that he was landing. The tower controller then asked the Tomahawk if he still had the airport in sight, to which the pilot responded, "Roger, making final." The tower controller cautioned "you're a little bit low, you might want to pull up." The following traffic then notified the tower that he saw the mishap aircraft hit the wires.

There were no visual markers on the wires. The supporting towers were marked with red obstruction lights. The approximate height of the wires were 950 ft above mean sea level(MSL). The runway threshold elevation is 906 ft MSL. The distance from the threshold was approximately 7250 ft. No VASI was installed on Runway 27R. Sunset was at 1738 central standard time.

The airplane had accrued 8 hours since annual inspection, where no discrepancies were noted. Post crash inspection of the aircraft showed presence of fuel at the site, engine continuity, flight control continuity and the ability of the undamaged magneto to produce spark. The FAA Airworthiness Inspector's on scene report is enclosed.

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