HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On May 9, 1993, about 1935 central daylight time, a Cessna 182N, N9222G, impacted terrain while maneuvering in the vicinity of Genoa, Nebraska. The aircraft was destroyed. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, no flight plan was filed. The flight operated under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Genoa, Nebraska approximately 1930.
The pilot's father stated he accompanied his son when he rented the airplane from the fixed base operator (FBO) in Columbus (OLU) about 1600. They flew to Lincoln, Nebraska (LNK, located 45 NM southeast of OLU), to pick up two of the pilot's friends, then continued to Genoa (55 NM northwest of LNK). The pilot's father reported his son intended to fly back to Columbus with the passengers to return the rental airplane. The pilot and his friends then planned to drive from Columbus to Lincoln. A copy of an aeronautical chart, highlighted to depict the route of flight and other pertinent information, is appended.
The pilot and two passengers had refreshments at the father's home in Genoa, then the father drove them back to the airport. The pilot's father stated he watched the airplane take off, and as he drove from the airport he saw the airplane descend behind the tree line. The airplane impacted terrain in a farmer's field located about one mile east of the Genoa Airport.
A group of family members and friends were gathered at the farm for a Mother's Day celebration. Several of them were witness to the airplane accident. In general, the witnesses agreed the airplane was in steady (albeit low), level flight as it approached, and there was no indication of in-flight difficulty. They reported the airplane approached from the east northeast at an estimated altitude of 50 to 100 feet above the ground. One witness reported the airplane was so low he did not think it would clear the power lines located east of the farm.
Witnesses reported when the airplane was almost directly south of their position, the wings rocked slightly, and the nose pitched up. They described a maneuver where the airplane pitched up steadily, continued over the top inverted, and came down the other side. As the airplane came through the back side of the maneuver it impacted terrain. Witnesses stated as they ran toward the airplane to assist the occupants, they saw that a postimpact fire had ignited in the forward section of the wreckage. They extinguished the fire, but determined there was nothing they could do to help the airplane occupants.
Several witnesses stated it looked like the pilot was trying to do a "loop," but started the maneuver too close to the ground. They reported the pilot was beginning to pull up to level off at the bottom of the loop when he ran out of altitude. One witness estimated the airplane was still in a 60 degree nose down attitude at impact. Witnesses stated the airplane was close enough to their position at the beginning of the maneuver that they could see the three occupants.
The witnesses generally agreed the airplane engine seemed to be operating normally throughout the maneuver, until it impacted the ground. Two children (boys) who witnessed the accident stated they heard the engine begin to sputter when the airplane was inverted at the top of the "loop." The boys reported the engine seemed to run normally again as the airplane descended back toward the ground. The accident airplane has a gravity fuel fed engine, and is not certificated for aerobatic flight. Excerpts from the airplane Pilot's Operating Handbook are appended.
Several people in the area reported they observed the accident airplane flying low overhead. Copies of witness statements, records of telephone conversations, and the Platte County Sheriff's Department Incident Report are appended.
A review of the pilot's flight logbook revealed 417 hours total flight time. The most recent flight in the accident make and model airplane was logged on August 12, 1990. The logbook contained four entries (6.9 hours of flight time) which referenced aerobatic flight maneuvers. The first logged aerobatic flight occurred on March 28, 1991. Excerpts from the pilot's logbook are appended.
Witnesses stated the airplane impacted terrain in a left wing low, nose down attitude. The main wreckage came to rest about 24 feet southwest of the initial impact point, on an approximate 165 degree heading.
Both wings separated from the fuselage during the impact sequence. The right wing was located 76 feet southeast of the main wreckage. The cabin roof section was attached to the forward portion of the right wing, with the wing bent away at a 45 degree angle. Wrinkles on the upper surface of the wing angled from forward inboard to aft outboard at a 45 degree angle.
The right wing exhibited little leading edge deformation. The aileron and flap were still attached, and the flap was in the retracted position. Two antennas on the roof section were still attached, but broken and bent forward. The right wing strut was still attached to the underside of the wing.
The left wing came to rest upside down, about 41 feet south of the main wreckage. It had separated at the wing root, with the flap and inboard portion of the aileron attached. The outboard section of the left aileron was located about 10 feet north of the main wreckage. The left wing exhibited severe leading edge crush and buckling, with damage most severe farther outboard. The wing strut was detached from the underside of the left wing, and was located beneath the tail section of the main wreckage.
The tail section was bent (buckled) up and twisted to the right of its normal position relative to the fuselage. There was damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator at the outboard section, and the forward section of the vertical fin. There was considerable wrinkling and buckling of the empennage forward of the horizontal stabilizers.
The engine compartment was located at the south side of the fuselage, partially buried in sandy soil. The top engine cowling was 67 feet from the main wreckage, on a 160 degree heading. Both propeller blades were buried in the soil at the forward end of the engine. They had separated from the propeller hub. The blades were slightly twisted and exhibited chordwise scratches. The carburetor was broken, but still contained fuel. The magnetos exhibited evidence of both impact and fire damage. There was evidence of fire damage through the accessory section and portions of the exhaust manifold. The broken carburetor was located above the exhaust manifold in the wreckage.
The forward portion of the main fuselage extended up from the firewall to a point just aft of the landing gear attach points. At that point, the fuselage buckled down to the ground where it buckled again just forward of the tail section. The main impact crater (including main wreckage) was approximately 13 feet long.
Postaccident engine teardown and examination revealed no evidence of preimpact engine malfunction. Impact damage complicated flight control continuity confirmation. There was no evidence of preimpact flight control difficulty. Photographs and a wreckage diagram are appended.
The forensic toxicological and autopsy reports revealed no evidence of preimpact anomaly. The autopsy was performed on May 11, 1993 by J. W. Jones, MD, at Douglas County Hospital at 909 Civic Center, Omaha, Nebraska, 68183.
The aircraft wreckage was released to Erwin G. Kohtz, in the absence of his son, James G. Kohtz, President of Columbus Aircraft Maintenance, Inc., registered owner of the airplane. The wreckage was released at the conclusion of the on scene portion of the investigation on May 11, 1993.