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NTSB Identification: NYC05FA086

On May 22, 2005, at 1335 eastern daylight time, N217AW, a Piper PA-28-140, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in Edinburg, Ohio. The certificated student pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at the Akron Fulton International Airport (AKR), Akron, Ohio, at approximately 1315, destined for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (YNG), Youngstown, Ohio. The solo instructional flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the flight school who operated the airplane, the student pilot was enroute to Youngstown (37 nautical miles away) to meet a designated examiner to take his private pilot practical examination.

A witness observed the airplane from his porch, flying eastbound, when it "appeared to be turning around." The airplane then entered a "spiraling nose dive," and impacted the ground "nose first."

A second witness observed the airplane flying "too slow" and "very low." The airplane was flying level, "barely over the tree tops," when the left wing "dipped down to the six o'clock position for a few seconds." The nose of the airplane then also "dipped down," and the airplane descended behind a tree line.


The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical, and student pilot certificate, was issued on October 1, 2004, with no restrictions.

Examination of the pilot's logbook revealed entries from October 29, 2004 to May 19, 2005. During this time, the pilot accumulated 51 hours of total flight experience. Additionally, the pilot had an endorsement from his flight instructor for the flight from AKR to YNG, on the day of the accident.


Examination of the airplane maintenance records revealed the most recent 100-hour inspection was performed on May 19, 2005, with no anomalies noted. The airplane had flown about 6 hours since the 100-hour inspection.


The weather reported at AKR, approximately 10 miles west of the accident site, at 1354, included wind from 320 degrees at 11 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting of 29.80 inches Hg.


The airplane came to rest in a field in a 90-degree nose-down attitude, oriented on an approximate heading of 165 degrees. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

Both wings remained attached to the fuselage, and were compressed aft to their wing spars. Both fuel tanks were compromised, and both the flaps and ailerons remained attached to the wings.

The vertical stabilizer assembly was separated from the fuselage, at its attachment point; however, it remained connected by the rudder and trim control cables. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and was undamaged.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the control surfaces to the forward cockpit compressed area. A measurement of the flap actuator revealed the flaps were in the retracted position.

The engine and propeller were buried in the ground, and the forward cockpit area, including the instrument panel and control column, were compressed aft into the front seats. Examination of the forward cockpit area revealed the airspeed indicator read approximately 25 knots, and the vertical speed indicator displayed a descent of approximately 3,000 fpm. The throttle and mixture controls were in the ¾ full forward position; however, the control column was impact damaged.

The engine and propeller were recovered from the ground and further examined. One propeller blade was bent aft approximately 90 degrees and the other blade was bent aft approximately 45 degrees. Both blades displayed slight chordwise scratching.

The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller hub, and thumb compression and valve train continuity was obtained on all cylinders. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. When rotated by hand, both magnetos produced spark at all ignition leads.


The Portage County Coroner's Office performed an autopsy on the pilot on May 24, 2005.

The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.


Fueling Information

According to fuel receipts provided by personnel at AKR, the airplane was "topped off" just before the accident flight.

Wreckage Release

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on February 15, 2006.