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On March 20, 2011, about 1827 central daylight time, a Cessna 150D, N4178U, impacted trees and terrain near Baraboo, Wisconsin. The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage due to tree and ground impact. The airplane was owned and operated by the student pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Lake in the Hills Airport (3CK), Lake in the Hills, Illinois, about 1700 and was en route to the Reedsburg Municipal Airport (C35), Reedsburg, Wisconsin.
Radar track data depicted the airplane on a 1200 (VFR) transponder code departing the Chicago area to the northwest. At 1718:57, the airplane was located approximately 13 miles and 340 degrees from 3CK at 2,500 feet pressure altitude. The airplane maintained a 322 degree course for about 37 miles. During this time, the airplanes altitude varied between 2,100 and 2,900 feet. The airplane then turned on a course of about 278 degrees for about 45 miles. The course line during this time period was not straight and the altitude varied between 1,700 and 2,700 feet. The airplane then turned to a course of about 344 degrees for about 33 miles. During this period, the airplane’s altitude varied between 2,300 and 2,900 feet. This was the last recorded segment of the flight.
The recorded radar data depicted a jagged flight path with several course changes during the last 15 miles of the flight. The final portion of the flight path shows the airplane turning to the right, completing 1-1/2 turns before the last radar return. The last radar return showed the airplane’s position about 0.57 miles south of the accident site at a pressure altitude of 2,600 feet.
A hand-held Lowrance Airmap 600C global positioning system (GPS) receiver was found within the airplane at the accident site. The GPS receiver was removed from the accident site and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download of any stored data. The stored data included 3 “trails” that corresponded to the accident flight. The information included latitude and longitude information. Altitude, time, and speed information were not recorded. The downloaded data was consistent with the radar track data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The GPS data yielded a smoother track than the radar data when overlaid on navigation charts and maps of the area; however, the recorded GPS data ended about 3.5 miles from the accident site.
The straight line distance between 3CK and C35 is 108 nautical miles on a bearing of 317 degrees. C35 was located about 9 nautical miles north-northwest of the accident site.
The pilot held a student pilot certificate and third class medical certificate issued on June 8, 2010. The medical certificate listed the limitation that the pilot possess glasses for near vision. The pilot did not have an airplane single-engine land or instrument-airplane rating.
The pilot’s flight logbook was found in the airplane at the accident site. A review of the records showed that the pilot had accumulated 55 hours total flight experience which included 16.9 hours of solo flight, and 0.5 hours of simulated instrument instruction. All of the recorded flight time was in the accident airplane.
FAA regulation 14 CFR Part 61.93(b) states that a student pilot must obtain an endorsement from an authorized instructor to make solo flights from the airport where the student pilot normally receives training to another location.
No instructor endorsement was found in the pilot’s flight logbook for the accident cross-country flight from 3CK to C35.
The pilot was carrying a passenger on the accident flight. The passenger was not a certificated pilot or flight instructor. According to FAA regulation 14 CFR Part 61.89(a), a student pilot is prohibited from acting as pilot-in-command of an aircraft carrying passengers. This section goes on to state that a student pilot is prohibited from acting as pilot-in-command if the flight or surface visibility is less than 3 statute miles during daylight hours or 5 statute miles at night or when the flight cannot be made with visual reference to the surface.
The airplane was a 1964 Cessna 150D, serial number 15060178. It was a single-engine, strut braced, high-wing monoplane of predominately aluminum construction. The airplane had a fixed tricycle landing gear and could seat 2 occupants in a side-by-side arrangement. The airplane was powered by a 100 horsepower Continental O-200A engine bearing serial number 2905-1-A. The aircraft maintenance records were not recovered during the investigation.
At 1652, the weather conditions at the Dupage Airport (DPA), about 18 nautical miles south of the departure airport, were: wind 110 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; few clouds at 8,000 feet above ground level; temperature 9 degrees C; dew point 4 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.94 inches of mercury. The report also included the remark that there was lightning in the distance to the northeast.
At 1715, the weather conditions at the Baraboo Wisconsin Dells Airport (DLL), about 10 nautical miles northeast of the accident site, were: wind 150 degrees at 12 knots; visibility 4 statute miles; mist; overcast clouds at 700 feet above ground level; temperature 5 degrees C; dew point 4 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.88 inches of mercury. The report also included the remark that there was lightning in the distance from the north through the southeast.
At 1835, the weather conditions at DLL were: wind 170 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 2-1/2 statute miles; drizzle; overcast clouds at 700 feet above ground level; temperature 5 degrees C; dew point 5 degrees C; altimeter setting 29.89 inches of mercury. The report also included the remark that there was lightning in the distance to the east.
The accident site elevation was measured as 1,454 feet using a handheld GPS receiver. This elevation was about 471 feet higher than the 979 foot elevation at DLL. First responders to the accident area reported that search efforts were hampered by dense fog.
There was no record of the pilot having obtained a weather briefing.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
The airplane was equipped with a gyroscopic artificial horizon, directional gyroscope, and turn coordinator. Additionally, a TKM combined navigation and communication transceiver and a hand-held Lowrance Airmap 600C GPS receiver were found within the airplane at the accident site.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted a heavily wooded area about 10 nautical miles southwest of DLL. The airplane was fragmented with significant damage to all major structural components. The left wing was separated from the airplane at the root end. There was a large semi-circular dent about 12” in diameter in the leading edge that was consistent with a tree impact. The wing was buckled and twisted at the aileron/flap joint. The left wing strut remained attached to the wing and the fuselage structure, but the structure in the immediate area of the attachment was torn from the fuselage.
The right wing remained partially attached to the fuselage structure. The outboard portion of the wing was twisted and torn at the aileron/flap joint. The outboard leading edge was open revealing the forward spar. There were numerous dents in the leading edge skin. The wing strut remained attached to the wing and the fuselage structure, but the structure in the immediate area of the attachment was torn from the fuselage.
The tail surfaces remained attached to the aft fuselage. The horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevators remained predominately intact with dents in the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.
The fuselage aft of the cabin section was twisted. The cabin and forward fuselage were fragmented. The aft fuselage was separated from the forward section at the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.
The lower portion of the fuselage cabin was crushed rearward to a position about 20 inches forward of the main landing gear attachment. The upper cabin was separated.
All control surfaces remained attached to their respecting mating positions on the airframe. All identified breaks within the control system were consistent with damage due to impact.
The engine was separated and located about 50 feet from the main wreckage. The propeller was still attached to the engine and chordwise scratching was noted on the blades. Several cuts in surrounding trees exhibited features consistent with a propeller impact.
A secondary examination of the engine was conducted and revealed no anomalies that were determined to have existed prior to the accident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The report listed extreme craniocerebral trauma, severe chest trauma, extreme hepatosplenic laceration, and sever limb trauma, all associated with the airplane collision event.
Toxicological testing performed by the FAA indicated the presence of Naproxen in the urine.