On December 24, 1997, at 1150 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper J3C-65, N91915, collided with wires and landed in an open field near Stoil, California. The airplane was destroyed by postimpact fire. The certificated commercial pilot, and sole occupant, received serious injuries. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a personal flight when the accident occurred. The local area flight originated from a private farm airstrip near Tulare, California, at 1045. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot recently received his commercial pilot certificate on October 26, 1997. The pilot indicated he desired to become an agricultural pilot and was practicing low passes over a field. The airplane struck a 300-foot-span of number 8 gauge copper conductor suspended about 45 to 50 feet above the ground with its propeller. The pilot told an FAA inspector an in-flight fire erupted in the cockpit area after the collision with the power transmission cable. The fire was located at a break in a fuel line from the fuel selector valve to the engine.
The pilot landed the airplane, collapsing one of the main landing gear. He egressed the airplane unaided. The fire spread destroying the airplane. The pilot suffered second and third degree burns to his face, arms, and left leg.
The pilot stated in his accident report that he failed to see the power transmission cables before the collision. The pilot also indicated there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane.