FTW99LA129
FTW99LA129

On May 1, 1999, about 1918 central daylight time, a Piper J3C-65 airplane, N3732C, registered to and operated by Sam Riggs Flying Service, Inc., of Claremore, Oklahoma, was destroyed by a fire following terrain impact while maneuvering in the traffic pattern at the Sam Riggs Airpark near Claremore. The commercial pilot and his pilot rated passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the Sam Riggs Airpark at 1830.

The commercial pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, NTSB Form 6120.1/2, that when the pilot rated passenger aligned the aircraft with runway 36 for landing, "an ultralight did a very aggressive landing procedure." The pilot further reported that he "took sole command of the aircraft," and flew to the east side of the runway for "a downwind leg" to land south. As the aircraft approached a road, which crosses the approach end of the runway, he "pitched the nose up to climb a little and reduce speed." He then "turned for a rounded base and final." As the aircraft turned, the "engine died," and he "continued to turn to get to open ground." He attempted an emergency landing, but the aircraft "hit too hard."

The pilot rated passenger reported to the FAA inspector that he was in the back seat and was landing the aircraft to the north on a grass strip. The aircraft was approximately 50 feet above a line of trees that run east and west when he "noticed an ultralight taking off to the south on the same runway." He then made a right turn to 040 degrees and leveled off. The passenger further reported that the pilot in the front seat "took over control of the aircraft and pitched the nose up and began a left turn to land to the south." He "noticed that the airspeed was low and then the aircraft began to stall." The pilot was able to get the wings level before the aircraft's "nose pitched down sharply and impacted the ground." The passenger stated that "he did not observe any problems with the aircraft or engine performance."

Examination of the aircraft wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed that the inboard section of both wings and the fuselage, except for the tail, were destroyed by fire. One propeller blade was destroyed by fire, and the other blade "exhibited evidence of power." There were also deep gouges in the ground that "appear to be propeller slashes." Continuity was established to all flight controls.

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