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On July 2, 2000, at approximately 0030 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 152, N757SL, operated by a pre-solo student pilot, was destroyed when it impacted into a soybean field, 1 1/2 miles east-northeast of Brownton, Minnesota. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The unauthorized personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file. The student pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated at Maple Park, Minnesota.
The airplane wreckage was discovered on July 2, 2000, at 0815 cdt, by a nearby resident as he and his family were driving by the location. The witness notified the McLeod County, Minnesota, Sheriff Department at 0852 cdt.
The airplane, based at Maple Lake Airport, Maple Lake, Minnesota, was discovered missing on July 2, 2000, at approximately 0955 cdt, by an instructor pilot, employed by Wright Aero, Incorporated, the fixed base operator (FBO) on the airport. The instructor pilot told a McLeod County Sheriff's detective that when he arrived at the FBO, the student pilot's car was in the parking lot, his car keys were on the desk, the security alarm system had been turned off, and the airplane was missing.
One of the owners for Wright Aero, Incorporated, said that he found their hangar's door open, and their Baron parked on the ramp with the tractor and tow bar still attached. The owner said that the student pilot would have had to move the Baron out to get the Cessna 152 out of the hangar.
The student pilot did not possess a current student pilot certificate or medical certificate.
According to rental records provided by the airplane's operator, the student pilot had accumulated 12.4 total flying hours between June 14, and September 2, 1995. All of the flight time was logged in a Cessna 152 airplane.
The airplane was owned by a holding company, and operated by Wright Aero, Incorporated, Maple Park Airport, Minnesota. The airplane was used for pilot training and as a rental.
The airplane was on a continuous maintenance program, and had completed a 100 hour inspection on June 30, 2000. The tachometer time recorded at the 100 hour inspection was 8243.0 hours.
The tachometer reading recorded at the accident site was 8244.7 hours.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The NTSB on scene investigation began on July 2, 2000, at 1730 cdt.
The accident site was located in a soybean field, 100 feet south of 90th Street, an east-west running gravel road.
The accident site began with a 69-inch wide, 31-inch long ground scar. The ground scar was oriented on a 295 degree heading, and was 8 inches at its deepest point, near the center. The airplane's engine and propeller were buried beneath the ground scar, so that 8 inches of one propeller blade tip and the back of the engine case were visible. The engine was broken off at the engine mounts. Pieces of the airplane's engine cowling rested on the north, south, and west edges of the ground scar.
The airplane main wreckage rested inverted on the east edge of the ground scar and was oriented on a 295 degree heading. The main wreckage consisted of the firewall, nose gear, cabin, main landing gear, left and right wings, fuselage, and empennage.
The firewall and nose gear were crushed aft. The nose wheel pant was broken off. The gear fork was broken at the top, near the strut. The airplane's cabin was fractured laterally, aft of the instrument panel. The instrument panel and glare shield were crushed aft and downward, and broken open. The windscreen was broken out and fragmented. All of the instruments and radios were broken out of the instrument panel. The rudder pedals and forward cabin floor were crushed upward. The cabin doors were broken outward and crushed. Both door windows were broken out and fragmented. The aft cabin floor, cabin ceiling, and pilot and copilot seats were crushed forward and up. The aft side and rear cabin windows were broken out and fragmented. The main landing gear remained attached to the cabin section. Both gear legs were bent upward. The left main landing gear leg was twisted up and aft. The wheel pants on both gear were broken off.
The left wing strut was attached to the forward cabin section floor by the attachment bolt. The strut was bent downward 20 degrees, approximately 15 inches outboard of the fuselage attachment bolt. The airplane's left wing was broken aft and separated at the wing root. The wing was crushed aft and broken open along the entire span. The top and bottom wing skin surfaces were broken laterally, aft of the leading edge, along the entire wing span. The left fuel tank was broken open and fragmented. There was no smell of fuel. Soybean plants within 5 feet aft and 2 feet forward of the left wing, were discolored and wilted. The left wing tip was broken aft longitudinally along the rivet line, and fractured into several pieces. The aft spar was broken aft. The left flap and aileron remained attached to the aft spar. The left flap was bent aft and buckled along the upper and lower skin surfaces. The left aileron was crushed forward along its entire span. Flight control continuity to the left aileron was confirmed.
The airplane's right wing was bent aft and broken open the entire span. The top and bottom wing skin surfaces were broken laterally, aft of the leading edge, and crushed aft along the entire span. The right fuel tank was crushed forward and broken open. The right wing tip was broken aft longitudinally along the rivet line, and fractured into several pieces. The right wing strut was bent forward at the wing attach bolt, and broken off at the fuselage attach bolt. The aft spar was broken out, bent aft, and twisted counter-clockwise. The right flap and aileron remained attached to the aft spar. The right flap was crushed aft along the leading edge at the rollers. The inboard trailing edge corner was bent downward 70 degrees. The right aileron was bent and buckled along its entire span. Flight control continuity to the right aileron was confirmed.
The fuselage, aft of the cabin section to the leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, was bent and crushed forward, and twisted clockwise.
The airplane's empennage was crushed forward into the crushed fuselage section and rested on the remains of the aft cabin section. The left horizontal stabilizer was bent forward 70 degrees, and broken at mid-span. The left elevator was broken out at the hinges and the cross tube at the tail cone. The left elevator was located 26 feet due east of the airplane main wreckage.
The right horizontal stabilizer was crushed aft at the root and twisted downward. The right elevator and elevator trim tab were bent downward. Flight control continuity to the elevator was confirmed.
The vertical stabilizer was crushed aft from the leading edge to the rudder hinges along its entire span. The top 8 inches of the rudder was bent forward and twisted right 40 degrees. The trailing edge was buckled at mid-span. Flight control continuity to the rudder was confirmed.
The airplane's propeller was broken in half at the hub. The propeller mounting bolts were broken outward and bent. Blade A was bent aft 25 degrees at approximately 15 inches outboard of the hub. Blade B was bent forward 20 degrees, approximately 18 inches outboard of the hub. Both blades showed chordwise and laterally-running scratches. The spinner was crushed aft and broken, so as to conform around the front side of the propeller hub halves.
The propeller flange was bent aft to conform around the left and right sides of the front engine case. An examination of the airplane's engine showed that the carburetor floats were crushed.
The airplane's fuel selector was found in the "closed" position. An examination of the remaining engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no other anomalies.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the student pilot was conducted by the Anoka County Medical Examiner at Coon Rapids, Minnesota, on July 3, 2000.
The results of FAA toxicology testing of specimens received from the student pilot revealed the following volatile concentrations:
63 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in blood 2 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-PROPANOL detected in blood 51 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ACETALDEHYDE detected in blood 100 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in muscle 13 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-BUTANOL detected in muscle 1 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-PROPANOL detected in muscle 89 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in urine
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory confirmed that the levels of Ethanol detected in blood, muscle, and urine samples tested "are consistent with the consumption of alcohol."
The levels of Ethanol detected in the blood equates to a blood- alcohol level of 0.06 percent by weight.
Federal Aviation Regulation 14 CFR Part 91, paragraph 91.17 (a), states that no person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft -
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
(2) While under the influence of alcohol;
(4) While having 0.04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.
Acetaldehyde detected in blood is a body metabolite of Ethanol, and is also a product of post-mortem putrefaction.
N-Propanol detected in the blood and muscle specimens is the product of post-mortem putrefaction. N-Butanol detected in the muscle specimens is also a product of post-mortem putrefaction.
A witness said that prior to the accident, the student pilot had stayed at his cabin on Lake Betsy, near Annandale, Minnesota. The student pilot arrived at the cabin on June 30, 2000, at approximately 2100 to 2200 cdt. He remained at the cabin overnight. The following day, July 1, 2000, the witness said that he and the student pilot played golf in the morning. Afterward, they picked up another friend, and went to a movie, and out to eat. The witness said that they returned to the cabin where they swam and played football. The witness said that two girl friends came to the cabin. The witness said that he was told by one of the girls that the student pilot stated, "I'm breaking down. I love you guys. You mean a lot to me. I have some things I have to take care of. I'm going to take care of those things tonight. Some things have to be done." The witness said he told the student pilot, "... we're here for you man ... you can talk to us about anything." The witness said the student pilot responded, "... there's just something I have to take care of. I just need some time alone." The witness said he respected the student pilot's wishes. The witness said the student pilot left the cabin at approximately 2300 to 2330 cdt.
A party to the investigation was the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The airplane wreckage was released and returned to Wright Aero Corporation, Maple Lake, Minnesota.