SEA98LA009
SEA98LA009

On October 27, 1997, approximately 1140 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-180, N9332J, registered to Midvale Flying Club, Inc., and being flown by a student pilot, was destroyed during a collision with terrain immediately after the aircraft's right wing impacted the top of a pole, while on final approach to runway 25 at the Lee Williams Memorial airport, Midvale, Idaho. The 65 year old pilot was seriously injured and airlifted to St. Alphonsus hospital in Boise where he subsequently expired approximately 12 hours after the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was a supervised instructional solo, was to have been operated under 14CFR91, and originated at the Lee Williams Memorial airport approximately 1130.

An inspector from the FAA's Boise Flight Standards District Office examined the crash site and reported that the aircraft impacted the pole approximately one to two feet below the top of the pole. The pole, which was estimated to be 20 feet in height (above ground), was located approximately 400 feet short of the runway 25 threshold, and on the east side of paved US highway 95 close to the runway extended centerline (refer to photographs 1/2, and DIAGRAM I). The terrain around the airport (including the pole) was observed to be relatively flat, and the highway was located at a slightly lower elevation with respect to the runway. A fresh, jagged break was observed at the very top of the pole where the cross brace was attached. Additionally, the pole was observed to have broken approximately 30-40% below the top. The aircraft impacted an up-sloping embankment along the west side of the highway coming to rest near the runway extended centerline, and approximately 186 feet from the threshold (refer to photographs 3/4). One propeller blade was observed to be folded underneath the engine and the opposing blade displayed chordwise scratching, as well as tip leading edge gouging and paint abrasions (refer to photograph 5). Major leading edge damage to the right wing was noted, especially in the wing root area and slightly outboard (refer to photograph 3).

The student pilot's log book was opened on May 29, 1997, and the last flight entry was recorded on October 21, 1997. A total of 35 flights had been entered for a total of 29 hours of flight time (3 hours pilot-in-command), all accomplished in the accident aircraft. His logbook showed an entry on September 23, 1997, remarking "3rd solo checkout & final solo" and signed by his flight instructor. The flight duration was logged as 1.0 hours with 0.5 hours dual and 0.5 hours pilot-in-command. The following (last) four flights logged were on September 25 and 29, 1997, and October 3 and 21, 1997. Each flight was 0.5 hours in duration, and each flight recorded 3 landings except the last flight, which recorded 2 landings. The pilot's log showed a total of 101 landings during the duration of his training.

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