LAX95FA198
LAX95FA198

On May 27, 1995, at 2027 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N4773E, was destroyed after colliding with power lines at Lovelock, Nevada. The aircraft was operated by Fallon Airmotive Inc., of Fallon, Nevada, and was rented by the pilot for the flight. The flight originated at Fallon on the evening of the accident at 1915 hours for an undetermined destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight and no flight plan was filed. The pilot and the three passengers succumbed to their injuries.

Witnesses observed the airplane flying straight and level at a low altitude near the accident site. A crop duster pilot who lives in a residence at his dirt airstrip heard an airplane fly past from north to south at a low altitude. The crop duster stated that he thought that it was a friend flying by his strip.

A local resident observed the airplane while on his routine evening walk past the crop duster strip. He stated that he watched the airplane flying past the duster strip at a very low altitude, nearly parallel to the runway. He continued to watch the airplane as it was approaching some power lines at the low altitude. He watched the airplane collide with the top 60 kv wires with what he thought was the landing gear. He observed the arcing of the wires and the resulting crash.

According to the Sierra Pacific Power Company, the wires are located about 1,056 feet from the end of the duster strip. The wires are not marked, nor are they required to be. The point of contact with the wires was between pole numbers 77506 and 77507. The wires have a sag below the pole tops of about 2 to 3 feet. At the point of contact, the top three wires are between 37 and 40 feet above the ground, and about 143 feet west of pole number 77507.

PILOT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot was issued a private pilot's certificate on April 26, 1992. The pilot was rated for single engine land airplanes.

At the pilot's last third class medical examination conducted on November 10, 1993, he reported a total flight time of 96 hours.

According to the pilot's logbook and the airplane operator's records, the private pilot had accumulated about 129 hours of flying time.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to the hobbs meter at the accident site, and rental records, the renter pilot had flown the airplane for 1.1 hours the evening of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in a remote cattle grazing area of Lovelock, at an elevation of near 4,000 feet msl. The wreckage was found inverted in a gully adjacent to a river, about 10 feet from the water's edge.

All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site. The accident site and wreckage path was found 486 feet south of damaged power lines on a magnetic heading of 175 degrees. According to the Sierra Pacific Power Company, the airplane had severed three 60 kv power cables, and three 7,200 volt distribution power cables. The west power pole also received damage to the lower cross member for the distribution lines.

The power company reported that the top of the unmarked power lines was 37 feet above the ground. Within 100 feet south of the power lines, small parts of fairings and secondary structure from the aircraft were located.

Located about 200 feet south of the power lines was a 5-foot 5-inch section of the left wing leading edge from about the wing strut attach point inboard, encompassing the stall warning port to the area of the pitot tube. Electrical arcing was observed on the leading edge skin with cable strike signatures. The pitot tube was found still attached to the wing, but folded aft on a section of torn skin. Electrical arcing was also noted on the bottom side of the left wing strut.

Examination of the propeller revealed leading edge cable strike signatures and electrical arcing.

Postaccident examination of the airframe and the engine was conducted at Minden, Nevada, with representatives of Cessna Aircraft and Lycoming Aircraft Engines. There were no preaccident conditions or malfunctions found that would have contributed to the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Lovelock (LOL) weather was reported at 1952 hours as: 10,000 feet scattered; 25,000 thin scattered; 50 miles visibility; temperature 69 degrees Fahrenheit; dewpoint 17 degrees Fahrenheit; winds 360 degrees at 9 knots; and the altimeter was 30.02 inches of mercury.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board sun and moon position computer program, at the time of the accident the sun was -2.1 degrees below the horizon on a magnetic bearing of 285 degrees. The moon was -14.9 degrees below the horizon. The end of civil twilight was 12 degrees below the horizon.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On May 28, 1995, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Washoe County Medical Examiner. During the autopsy, no medical condition was found that would affect the pilot's ability to pilot the airplane.

During the autopsy, samples were obtained from the pilot for analysis by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the analysis was negative for all drug screened substances and ethanol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The private (no name) duster strip located near the accident site is not listed in the typical airport guide, nor on the FAA Klamath Falls sectional chart. There are no services available. There is no FAA 5010-1 (airport layout plan) on file for the dirt strip. The private owner/operator has resided there for 20 years. Prior to that, in the 1940's the strip was used for civilian pilot training (CPT).

On May 30, 1995, the wreckage was released to the insurance company representative.

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