CHI99LA007
CHI99LA007

On October 9, 1998, at 1700 central daylight time (cdt), a Bellanca 8KCAB, N924TA, operated by a private pilot, was destroyed when while maneuvering 12 miles southeast of Superior, Wisconsin, the airplane impacted in a field of sapling trees. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. There was no flight plan on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated at Superior, Wisconsin, at approximately 1640 cdt.

The airplane was owned and operated by Great Lakes Flying, Incorporated, Superior, Wisconsin, and used as part of the flying club's rental fleet. The club owner said that the pilot fueled the airplane with 12.3 gallons of fuel at 1638 cdt. The pilot took off shortly after fueling.

A witness said that he observed a "white and blue airplane with stripes and blue wing tips," perform "tricks" just south of his home. The witness said the airplane "would climb straight up and do spirals. On the way down, it would do loops." The witness also said described the airplane performing barrel rolls. The witness said that he never heard any unusual engine sounds. The witness watched the airplane for approximately 10 minutes and then went inside his house.

A second witness said that between 1600 and 1700 cdt, he saw a small blue and white airplane flying from north to south. The witness said that the airplane's altitude was low, estimating it to be 300 yards above the treeline.

At 2155 cdt, the National Mission Control Center (NMCC) in Suitland, Maryland, notified the Douglas County, Wisconsin, Sheriff Department that they were receiving an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal in the Douglas County area.

At approximately 2200 cdt, the Wisconsin Wing of the Civil Air Patrol contacted the airplane's owner and inquired if one of his airplane's was missing. The owner performed an inventory of the airplanes on his ramp and told the CAP that he was not missing any airplanes. The owner said that he had forgotten about N924TA.

On October 10, 1998, at approximately 0130 cdt, the pilot's brother came to the airplane owner's house and informed him that his brother's car was still in the flying club's parking lot. The owner said that it was then that he realized that he had forgotten about the airplane and that it was indeed missing.

At 0300 cdt, the airplane was located by CAP ground teams and sheriff department deputies.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage at the accident site. The aircraft wreckage was located in a field consisting of tall grass and sapling trees, and surrounded by dense woods. The accident site began with a 20 foot long stand of sapling trees running along a 320 degree magnetic heading. The trees were sheared off 4 to 7 feet above the ground in a gradually decreasing angle of approximately 15 degrees to the horizontal plane. Just beyond the trees was a 25 foot long ground scar leading to a 20 foot wide mound of dirt. Numerous pieces of the airplane's cowling and forward fuselage were embedded in the dirt. The airplane's propeller and spinner rested approximately 8 feet north of the mound. The airplane's main wreckage rested inverted in a grassy area approximately 30 feet beyond the mound, on a 320 degree magnetic heading. Airplane radios, flight instruments, and other airplane components were found approximately 100 feet beyond the main wreckage.

The airplane's propeller was broken torsionally, just aft of the flange. The propeller showed torsional bending and chordwise scratches. The spinner was crushed inward and twisted counter- clockwise. The airplane's cowling, forward fuselage, and cockpit were crushed aft and broken open. The airplane's engine was broken off at the mounts. The airplane's wings and struts were broken upward and mangled. The wing fuel tanks were buckled outward and broken open. The main landing gear were sheared off.

The aft fuselage was crushed aft and buckled. The leading edges of the horizontal stabilizers were crushed aft and downward. The right elevator showed minor skin buckling toward the tip. The top, forward leading edge of the vertical stabilizer was crushed aft and inward. The rudder and tailwheel showed no damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed. No anomalies were found in the engine, engine controls, or other airplane systems.

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