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On July 26, 1998, at 0958 eastern daylight time (edt), a Cessna 172M, N1461V, piloted by a private pilot, received substantial damage following in-flight collisions with a power line and terrain, during climb out from Runway 01 (2,822 ft x 100 ft, turf) at Shamrock Field, near Brooklyn, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from Gross Ile Municipal Airport, Michigan and was en route to Shamrock Field.
A witness reported seeing a Cessna 172 approach to land at Shamrock Field. The aircraft touched down about midfield but was too fast. The witness further stated that at approximately 600 ft from the runway end, the pilot attempted a go-around. The witness then saw the flaps being retracted when the aircraft passed over the road and went on to say that the aircraft appeared to struggle while trying to get over the high tension power lines, but went between the top ground wire and the next wire down. The aircraft was banking to the right and caught the right wing tip on the second wire. The aircraft rolled upside down and crashed.
A second witness who was standing outside a maintenance hanger at the airport saw an aircraft approaching to land on Runway 01. In his statement, the witness reported the aircraft appeared to be landing long and that the pilot realized this and elected to go-around after reaching the midpoint of the field without touching down. The witness further reported that the aircraft climbed on runway heading with no adverse engine sounds. Near the power lines, the aircraft banked to the right and contacted the wires with the right wing tip and flipped over out-of-sight.
DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT
The aircraft was substantially damaged. Inward crushing of the firewall and the full length of the wing leading edges was observed. The fuselage was buckled at the aft section of the cabin. Post impact fire was reported by witnesses.
A 3-4 ft mark on the power line, located 60 ft east of the tower, which did not necessitate repair, was reported.
The pilot was 74 years old and the holder of a private certificate with a single engine land rating. A third class medical was issued on August 7, 1996 with a restriction to wear lenses for distance and possess glasses for near vision. The pilot's logbook indicates a total flight time of 685 hours with the last entry recorded on July 19, 1998, of which 111 hours were in the accident aircraft. The log book also shows that the pilot had received a biennial flight review in the accident aircraft on September 18, 1997. Under the remarks section on this date, the instructor annotated, "... TO & LNDGS". Also, 1.9 hours of flight time with two landings was entered into the logbook on this date.
The Cessna 172M, serial number 17263598, N1461V had a total time prior to the accident flight of 4016.7 hours. An annual inspection was performed on May 17, 1998 at 4010.3 hours. All airworthiness directives relating to the airframe were accomplished and current.
The engine, Textron Lycoming 0-320-E2D, serial number L-28040-27A, is a four cylinder, air cooled, direct drive, horizontally opposed normally aspirated reciprocating engine rated at 150 hp @ 2700 rpm. The engine was overhauled on November 28, 1996 and had a time since overhaul prior to the accident flight of 14.9 hours. All airworthiness directives relating to the engine were accomplished and current.
The propeller, McCauley, serial number, 725555, is a two bladed fixed pitch metal propeller.
The aircraft basic empty weight and useful load, which were annotated on paperwork recovered from the wreckage, were 1461.2 lbs and 838.8 lbs, respectively. The weight of the pilot was reported to be approximately 210 lbs. Approximately 11 gallons of light blue fuel was present in the left tank.
Daylight conditions prevailed at the time of the accident with the nearest weather reporting station , Jackson, Michigan, reporting winds to be calm, a 15 statue mile visibility, a temperature of 21 degrees C, a dew point of 14 degrees C and an altimeter of 30.19 in Hg.
Shamrock Field (6GB) is located at latitude 42 05.70'N and longitude 83 46.68'W. The airport is uncontrolled and has a right traffic pattern for Runway 01. There are no navigational approach aids available for either runway. The Airport Facility Directory under, "AIRPORT REMARKS", for Shamrock Field states, "CAUTION: ...Rwy 19 has 102' p-line 1/4 mile from thld extended left and right of rwy centerline".
Under 14 CFR Part 77-Objects Affecting Navigable Airspace, 77.23 specifies the standards for determining obstructions. Advisory Circular 70/7460-1describes the Federal Aviation Administration's standards for marking and lighting structures to promote aviation safety.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) on-scene investigation began at 0800 edt on July 27, 1998.
The aircraft was found inverted, with its nose resting on the ground, on a magnetic heading of 050 degrees. The ground scar preceding the aircraft was measured to be approximately 21 ft with a magnetic heading of 020 degrees. Approximately 16 inches of the right outboard wing was found lying beneath the power lines at latitude 42 06.126' N and longitude 84 14.295' W. The remainder of the wing and control surfaces were found intact with main wreckage which was measured to be at latitude 42 06.180'N and longitude 84 14.287'W. The propeller was separated and buried in beneath the rear cabin area. The right and left wing leading edge impact angles were measured and determined to be 55 degree and 48 degrees, respectively. Inspection of the right landing gear hub revealed a localized area of melting located on the outboard side of the right landing gear hub.
Examination of the engine revealed both magnetos to spark through all four of their respective plug leads. The rocker arms exhibited no evidence of metal contamination or anomalies. The cylinders appeared to be undamaged at the piston faces. The carburetor float assembly was found to be intact. The exhaust system did not display any evidence of obstruction and there were no indications of leakage of the heater shroud.
The propeller was separated aft of the propeller flange and was attached with the spinner and flywheel. The propeller flange surface exhibited a 45 degree overstress fracture with no indications of fatigue. The propeller surfaces were observed to have chord wise scratching and gouging with burnishing of the leading edges of both blades. One blade of the propeller exhibited S-shaped bending.
The right fuel tank exhibited post-impact fuel leakage; however, approximately 1/2 of a tank of light blue fuel with no visual indications of sediment or water was present in the left fuel tank and gascolator bowl. The fuel selector was in the "BOTH" position.
Aileron, elevator and rudder flight control continuity was established. The elevator trim actuator was found to be in a slight nose-up position. The flaps were in their fully retracted positions.
The tachometer reading at the accident site was 4016.7 hours.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Rescue personnel reported that a seat belt and shoulder harness was being worn by the pilot-in-command and that the seat and seat rails were intact.
An autopsy was conducted by Jackson County on July 27, 1998, at 1550 edt.
Toxicological tests were negative for all substances tested.
There have been two prior in-flight collisions with power lines at Shamrock Field that have been investigated by the NTSB under NTSB accident numbers CHI96LA159 and CHI97LA304.
Consumers Energy has reported that the span of power line in line with the runway had been modified on August 11, 1998, to include the removal of the static wire and the installation of one 24 inch orange marker ball on the top energized phase wire approximately 50 ft westerly from the tower nearest the centerline. The marker ball is approximately in-line with the centerline. In the first span easterly from the runway centerline, five 24 inch orange marker balls spaced 200 ft apart on the unenergized static/shield wire were also installed.
Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Textron Lycoming, Inc., and Cessna Aircraft Company.
Upon completion of the on-scene field investigation, the wreckage was released to the chief of police on July 27, 1998.