On June 16, 1997, at 2005 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150G, N3787J, operated by the Franklin Flying Club, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a bean field when it hit powerlines and impacted the ground. The certified flight instructor (CFI) received minor injuries and the student pilot received serious injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight had departed the Franklin Flying Field, Franklin, Indiana, on a local instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The student pilot reported that he had started flying in the summer of 1996 and had logged approximately 18 hours. He did not fly during the winter and had recently started taking flight instruction again. He had a total of 20 hours of flight time when the accident occurred.
The student pilot reported that he and the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) had both preflighted the airplane. The instructional training flight consisted of touch and go's at Franklin Flying Field. They departed for the local training area where they practiced power on and power off stalls. After about eight stalls, the instructional portion of the flight was over.
The CFI reported they flew to the student's house. A bean field which the student owned was adjacent to the house. The CFI and student decided to land in the bean field. The landing at the bean field had not been briefed prior to the instructional flight.
The bean field measured approximately 2,200 feet in length. The field had recently been planted and the bean sprouts were about one to four inches in height. The soil was very hard and rough due to the harvested corn stalks that produced a stubble on the ground. At the departure end of the field (west), there was a small hill, and a line of trees that ran perpendicular to the direction of takeoff. A powerline approximately 35 feet in height ran perpendicular to the direction of takeoff approximately 1,000 feet west of the departure end of the field.
The student pilot reported that the CFI made the landing which was uneventful. After a 30 minute stopover, the pilots prepared to depart. The CFI checked the fuel while the student pilot did the preflight.
The student pilot reported that he back taxied the airplane to the extreme east end of the field for takeoff to the west. He reported that the carburetor heat was checked before the takeoff roll. He reported that his hands and feet were on the controls when he applied full power. The student pilot reported that during the takeoff roll the CFI said, "My aircraft." The student pilot said he brought his hands all the way back when the CFI took the controls. The student pilot reported the CFI rotated the airplane about 900 to 1000 feet down the field. He reported the airplane climbed to about 100 feet. The student pilot reported that he looked out the window on the right and waved to the children who were at the 3 o'clock position. He reported that he never heard the engine sputter and did not remember the loss of engine power.
The CFI reported that the airplane performed normally during the instructional portion of the flight with no sign of loss of engine power. He reported that he checked the condition of the bean field prior to departing by taxiing the length of the field. The CFI reported that the field was 1500+ feet in length and 100 feet wide, with a small hill (mound) at the end of the field.
He reported an engine and control check was performed prior to takeoff and everything was normal. He reported that the short field takeoff procedure was used during takeoff. He reported the student pilot pushed the throttle to full power and began the takeoff run. The CFI reported that the airplane was rotated at 60 mph and it lifted off at approximately 900 to 1,000 feet in the takeoff roll. The CFI reported that shortly after the initial climb was established he felt a major power loss and a major decrease in the climb performance. He yelled something at the student pilot, but cannot remember what he yelled. The CFI reported that he pitched the airplane down, and then he saw the wires of the powerline. That was the last thing the CFI could remember.
In statements made to the Indiana State Police, the student pilot indicated that the CFI was flying the airplane during the takeoff and that he was not on the controls during takeoff. The student pilot reported that at 100 to 130 feet above ground level the aircraft banked to the left. The student pilot reported that the CFI said, "Hold on." The student pilot reported the engine was running fine and he did not hear it stop. He did not hear the stall warning horn, and he reported that he believed the prop was running all the time.
A witness to the accident reported that he had seen the airplane begin its takeoff roll from the extreme east end of the field. He reported the takeoff roll was normal but did not see the liftoff due to a barn that blocked his view. He observed the airplane west of a garage and gaining altitude. He then observed the airplane go into a nose up attitude. He reported the airplane banked left and went down striking the ground, left wing first. He reported the engine was running continuously and appeared to be normal. The airplane caught fire quickly after the impact.
The wreckage was examined by an Airworthiness Inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration. The examination of the engine revealed that the gear train was intact and all the upper spark plugs looked normal. The right and left magnetos and accessory case were melted away.
An engine teardown was conducted. The examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would preclude normal operation at the time of the accident.
One blade of the propeller indicated leading edge rotational damage and chordwise scratching. The propeller had a crater where it had arced when it impacted the powerline. The blade tip was curled and bent back from the impact. The other blade showed no chordwise scratching, but the tip had a slight bend.
The flight controls were examined and indicated continuity. The flaps were in the 10 degree flap position.
The right fuel tank had split open, but the left tank had approximately five gallons remaining. The fuel selector was in the "Both" position.