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On November 4, 2012, about 1030 central standard time, a Cessna 150F, N8375G, impacted terrain on final approach to runway 32 (3,300 feet by 250 feet, turf) at Quinn Field Airport (GTE), Gothenburg, Nebraska. The student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to and operated by private individuals under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from GTE about 1000.
The student pilot was conducting a solo instructional flight in the airport traffic pattern. He had conducted three landings without incident and was approaching for a fourth landing when the accident occurred. The pilot’s flight instructor reported that the initial three landings appeared routine; however, he did not witness the accident.
A pilot entering the traffic pattern reported that he observed the accident airplane land and stop within about 500 feet. The accident pilot then taxied back and took off again. He reported that on the next trip around the traffic pattern the accident airplane was “extremely low,” not more than 200 feet agl, on the downwind leg. He noted that the normal pattern altitude was 800 feet agl. The accident pilot subsequently landed and took off again. While on final approach, he observed the accident airplane on initial climb after takeoff and beginning to turn crosswind. He subsequently landed and taxied to his hangar. He did not observe the remainder of the accident pilot’s flight in the traffic pattern or the accident sequence.
The airplane impacted an open grass area south of the runway and came to rest inverted.
The pilot held a student pilot certificate and third class medical certificate issued on December 30, 2011. The certificate included a limitation for near vision corrective lenses and was limited in duration to 12 months; not valid for any class after December 31, 2012. A flight instructor endorsement for solo flight privileges, dated November 3, 2012, was present on the certificate.
According to the pilot’s flight instructor, this was the student pilot’s second solo flight. The pilot’s initial solo flight occurred the day before the accident; that flight consisted of one takeoff and landing. The student pilot had logged 13.7 hours total flight time, with 42 landings. The pilot’s prior solo flight was not included in the logbook.
The accident airplane was Cessna model 150F, serial number 15062475. It was a two-place, single-engine, high-wing airplane, with a fixed tricycle landing gear configuration. The airplane was powered by a 100-horsepower Continental Motors O-200-A engine, serial number 62233-5-A. The airplane was originally issued a utility category, standard airworthiness certificate in November 1965. The current owner purchased the airplane on August 18, 2012.
Maintenance records indicated that the most recent annual inspection was completed on December 10, 2011, at 3,248.1 hours total airframe time. The records noted that maintenance was completed on March 12, 2012, at 3,255.27 hours, which included repair of the airbox and timing of the magnetos, among other items. The most recent maintenance consisted of an engine oil change, completed on October 5, 2012, by the owner. The maintenance logs did not contain any subsequent entries.
The tachometer indicated 3,290.96 hours at the time of the postaccident examination.
The nearest weather reporting facility was located at the Jim Kelly Field Airport (LXN), about 19 miles southeast of GTE. At 1035, the LXN Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) recorded conditions as: wind from 270 degrees at 4 knots; 10 miles visibility; clear sky; temperature 9 degrees Celsius; dew point 3 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.07 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted an open grass area about 50 feet south of the runway 32 arrival threshold. It came to rest inverted on an approximate heading of 160 degrees magnetic. Ground impact marks were located about 22 feet south of the airplane, with a second ground impact scar located about 7 feet south of the airplane. The initial ground impact marks included a lateral impression consistent with a propeller slash mark, and three depressions, centered on the slash mark, which were consistent with being formed by the landing gear.
The engine cowling was crushed upward and aft, relative to the airframe, at an approximate 45-degree angle. The wings, aft fuselage, and empennage were damaged consistent with impact forces. The flight control surfaces remained attached to the airframe, and continuity was confirmed from each control surface to the cockpit controls. The wing flaps remained attached to the airframe and were positioned about 30 degrees deflection at the time of the examination. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted at the Nebraska Institute of Forensic Science, Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 5, 2012. The pilot’s death was attributed to blunt force trauma injuries sustained in the accident.
The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute toxicology report was negative for all drugs in the screening profile. In addition, the report stated that no ethanol was detected in vitreous fluid, nor was any carbon monoxide detected in a blood sample.