SEA96LA068
SEA96LA068

On March 13, 1996, about 1200 mountain standard time, N3632T, a Schweizer G-164B airplane, registered to Ken Spray, Inc, Twin Falls, Idaho, collided with terrain during an uncontrolled descent and was destroyed near Point of Rocks, Wyoming. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The ferry flight departed Laramie, Wyoming, and was destined for Rock Springs, Wyoming. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

According to an FAA aviation safety inspector from Salt Lake City, Utah, the airplane was flying with two other airplanes immediately prior to the accident. All three airplanes were being ferried to Idaho from Missouri in preparation for a season of agricultural spraying.

According to authorities from the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Department in Rock Springs, the airplanes encountered "a blizzard" while flying "low" over Interstate 80. One of the airplanes turned back and landed uneventfully in Rawlings, Wyoming. Another airplane continued on to land uneventfully on a highway near Rock Springs, Wyoming. The accident airplane strayed away from the interstate and was later found about 1.5 miles north of the interstate.

According to the operator of the airplane, who was flying one of the three airplanes, the flight of three departed from Laramie about 1100. The airplanes encountered worsening weather conditions after passing Rawlings. The operator stated that he "got committed and could not turn around." He followed the interstate, with the accident pilot flying behind him. The airplanes were not in radio communications with each other. The operator did not report any knowledge of any mechanical malfunctions with the accident airplane prior to the flight.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site by an FAA aviation safety inspector from Salt Lake City on March 14, 1996. According to the inspector, the airplane was found in about at 90-degree nose-down attitude and was destroyed. The engine was buried into the ground. The engine tachometer read 2,800 revolutions per minute, and the engine manifold pressure gauge read 32 inches of mercury. No evidence of an in-flight structural failure, fire or explosion was found.

An additional examination of the airframe and engine occurred on April 10, 1996, after the wreckage had been removed. The examination was performed by an FAA certified airframe and powerplant mechanic employed at the Rawlings Airport, under the direction of the Safety Board. According to the mechanic, no pre-impact mechanical deficiencies were found during the inspection.

The airplane was manufactured in 1985 and had just been purchased by the operator. It was not equipped for flight into IMC. An examination of the airplane's maintenance records did not reveal any indications of unresolved discrepancies.

The pilot, age 42, held an FAA commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. According to the operator, the pilot had logged about 4,117 hours of total flight time, including 48 hours of instrument flight time. No evidence was found to indicate that the pilot had accumulated any instrument flight time during the 90 days prior to the accident.

An autopsy on the pilot was performed by Dr. Francis J. Hatch, M.D., of the Sweetwater County Coroner's Office, Rock Springs, on March 14, 1996. A toxicological analysis (report attached) of specimens taken from the pilot was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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