CHI05LA067
CHI05LA067

On February 3, 2005, at 1500 central standard time, a Cessna 152, N68714, experienced a nose gear collapse during a precautionary landing in a field in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The student pilot was not injured. The airplane received substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 solo instructional flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight departed from the Rock County Airport (JVL), Janesville, Wisconsin, at 1255, with an intended destination of Witmann Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The pilot stated the accident occurred during a solo cross county flight. She stated the flight was planned from the Waukegan Regional Airport (UGN), Waukegan, Illinois, to JVL, to OSH, then back to UGN. She stated she flew uneventfully to JVL where she topped off the airplane with 26 gallons of fuel. The pilot stated that approximately 15 to 20 minutes after departing JVL, she dialed in the OSH very high frequency omnirange navigational equipment (VOR), but was unable to pick up a signal. She stated she then tried to listen to the OSH automated terminal information service (ATIS), at which time she realized that the aircraft radios were not working. The pilot stated since OSH was a controlled field she decided to return to UNG. The pilot stated she was over Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, when she made this decision. She stated she turned south and flew west of Milwaukee at 2,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and then turned to follow the highway to UGN. The pilot stated she used her cell phone and left messages with her instructor and the flying club chief pilot to inform the air traffic control tower at UNG that she would be coming in without radio contact. She stated she then noticed that the fuel gauges were indicating that the fuel tanks were empty. The pilot stated she knew the airplane should have had plenty of fuel, but she thought that maybe a fuel cap was left off when the airplane was fueled or that the airplane was losing fuel for some other reason. She stated she started looking for a field in which to land when she realized that the Sylvania Airport (C89) was about 2 miles in front of her. The pilot stated that at this time she did not realize that there was a problem with the electrical system.

The pilot stated she was too high and fast to make a straight in approach to land on runway 28, so she decided to enter a right downwind for runway 08. She stated she lowered the flap handle while in the traffic pattern, but she didn't remember seeing the flaps extend nor did she remember feeling the drag of the flaps extending. The pilot stated she was at an altitude of about 500 feet at and airspeed of 70 knots while on base. She stated, "As I turned to enter final, the plane would not bank, although it did yaw slightly to the right, it felt sluggish as if I was going to stall - but my speed was above stall speed at that point." She stated she knew she was not going to make it to the runway so she located a cornfield in which to land. The pilot stated she reduced the power to idle at which time the stall warning sounded so she lowered the nose of the airplane. She stated the field had a slight rise so she held the airplane off the ground as long as possible. The nose gear contacted snow during the landing, and the nose gear collapsed.

Post accident inspection of the airplane was conducted by inspectors from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office. The inspection revealed an intermittent connection of the spade terminals on the "Battery Master/Alternator switch prevented the battery contactor relay from closing. This prevented power to the electrical bus and the alternator field circuit. The spade connectors had a good physical connection, but poor electrical connection due to the dull white appearance of the connectors. When the wire bundle at the switch was moved slightly, the battery relay opened and closed intermittently. The connectors were removed from the switch terminals, slightly cleaned and re-connected. The intermittent operation ceased.

The fuel gauges, radios, and flaps, are electrically actuated components. The flight controls were inspected and control continuity was established.


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