By GosHawk and NTSB
[Editor’s Note: On August 21st 2018, GosHawk advised AuxBeacon of a 2003 fatal Civil Air Patrol crash in North English, Iowa. Thank you for your contribution.]
On March 22nd 2003, a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182 was destroyed during takeoff and climb out from White Pigeon Airport in southern Iowa. The NTSB has released their findings.
The airplane was destroyed by impact forces after a loss of control while attempting to avoid a power line and trees during takeoff climb from a grass taxiway (1,000 feet by 70 feet). The pilot receiving training reported that he and the certified flight instructor (CFI) briefed the flight and conducted an aircraft preflight. He reported the purpose of the flight was to practice dead reckoning navigation, and to do a grass strip landing. He reported that the airplane operated normally and there were no indications of mechanical difficulty. He reported the airplane touched down within 150 feet of the south end of the taxiway and he made a full stop landing. He back taxied and then performed a “short field” takeoff.
He attempted to lift off at 65 knots indicated airspeed about one-half way down the taxiway, but the “aircraft was not climbing.” He reported that the CFI came on the controls during the climb out. He recalled seeing the orange balls on the power lines located at the north end of the taxiway, and he heard the stall warning horn sounding. The airplane veered to the left, and then the right side of the airplane impacted the terrain. The Pilot’s Operating Handbook indicated that the required takeoff distance to clear a 50 foot obstacle from a grass airstrip on a 15 degree Celsius day required approximately 1,409 feet. Runway 9/27 at the private airstrip was 2,400 feet by 70 feet. The prevailing wind at the time of the accident was 280 degrees at 10 knots. The inspection of the airplane revealed no pre-existing anomalies.
Probable Cause and Findings
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in a stall. Contributing to the accident was the CFI’s improper decision to attempt to takeoff from a short, grass taxiway instead of departing from a runway aligned with the prevailing winds, the short, grass taxiway, the crosswind, trees, and transmission wires.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On March 22, 2003, at 1544 central standard time, a Cessna 182R, N6211E, operated by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), was destroyed by impact forces after a loss of control while attempting to avoid a power line during takeoff climb from a grass taxiway at the White Pigeon Airport (7IA1), near North English, Iowa. The certified flight instructor (CFI) received fatal injuries, and the private pilot under training received serious injuries. The Title 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight departed Ankeny Regional Airport (IKV), Ankeny, Iowa, at 1505, on a training flight. About 1540, the airplane landed to the north on the north/south oriented grass taxiway (1,000 feet by 70 feet) at 7IA1. The airplane back taxied on the taxiway and then attempted to departed to the north from the taxiway. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A VFR flight plan was filed.
The pilot receiving training reported that he and the CFI met at IKV and briefed the flight and conducted an aircraft preflight. He reported the purpose of the flight was to practice dead reckoning navigation. They also planned to do a grass strip landing at 7IA1, before continuing en route to the Ottumwa Industrial Airport (OTM), Ottumwa, Iowa, for refueling. After refueling, they planned to return to IKV. He reported that he had landed at 7IA1 before, but it had been on the east/west runway and not on the taxiway, which he referred to as a runway.
The pilot reported that the flight from IKV to 7IA1 had gone as planned. He reported that the airplane operated normally and there were no indications of mechanical difficulty. Once at 7IA1, he flew over the airport and entered a left downwind to land to the north on the north “runway.” The airplane touched down within 150 feet of the south end of the taxiway and he made a full stop landing. He reported that as he back taxied for takeoff, he raised the flaps, but he could not remember if he lowered the flaps prior to takeoff. He reported that he was following the CFI’s instructions for a “short field” takeoff, and he kept the airplane moving during the turn at the south end of the grass taxiway.
He reported that he performed a rolling takeoff. About one-half way down the runway he attempted to lift off at 65 knots indicated airspeed, but the “aircraft was not climbing.” He reported that the CFI came on the controls during the climb out and stated, “What are we going to do?” He reported that he recalled seeing the orange balls on the power lines located at the north end of the taxiway, and he heard the stall warning horn sounding. He reported that the airplane veered to the left, and then the right side of the airplane impacted the terrain. He remained conscious but was trapped in the left front seat of the airplane because he could not release his seat belt. One of the first persons on the scene cut his seat belt and he was able to exit the airplane.
The 55-year old CFI held a commercial pilot certificate issued on April 9, 2002, with single engine land and instrument ratings. She also had private pilot privileges in multi-engine airplanes limited to VFR flight only. She held a certified flight instructor certificate issued on June 3, 2002, with single engine land and instrument ratings. She had logged approximately 1,126 total flight hours with 1,056 hours in single engine airplanes. She had logged
approximately 182 hours as a CFI. She had flown 5.2 hours in the last 90 days and 1.3 hours in the last 30 days. She held a Second Class medical certificate. She had joined the CAP on February 3, 1995, and held the rank of Major. She served as a CAP mission pilot and CAP check pilot.
The 52-year old private pilot receiving training had logged a total of 238 flight hours with 3 hours in make and model. He was receiving training in the Cessna 182 because he did not have a high performance airplane endorsement, a requirement for being pilot-in-command of a Cessna 182. He had last flown on December 31, 2002, in a Cessna 172. He held a Third Class medical certificate. He had joined the CAP in January 22, 1998, and held the rank of Second Lieutenant. He had passed a CAP Form 5 check on June 5, 2002, which authorized him to fly as pilot-in-command of a Cessna 172.
The airplane was a single engine Cessna 182R, serial number 18268352. The airplane seated four and had a maximum gross weight of 3,110 pounds. The engine was a 230 horsepower Continental O-470-U (17) engine. The last annual inspection was conducted on September 25, 2002. The airplane had flown 71 hours since the last inspection and had a total time of 4,148 hours.
The Cessna Model 182R Pilot’s Operating Handbook stated the following procedure for a Short Field Takeoff:
1. Wing Flaps – 20 degrees.
2. Carburetor Heat – Cold.
3. Brakes – Apply.
4. Power – Full Throttle and 2400 RPM.
5. Mixture – Full Rich (mixture may be leaned about 5000 feet for smooth operation).
6. Brakes – Release.
7. Elevator Control – MAINTAIN SLIGHTLY TAIL LOW ATTITUDE.
8. Climb Speed – 59 KIAS (until all obstacles are cleared).
9. Wing Flaps – RETRACT slowly after reaching 70 KIAS.
The Standardization Instructor for the Iowa Wing CAP provided the calculated Takeoff Distance in reference to the Cessna 182R Pilot’s Operating Handbook. The calculations were based on the following assumptions:
Takeoff Weight: 2800 lbs.
Temperature: 15 degrees C
Altitude: 1000 feet pressure altitude
Grass Runway: Short, firm (Increase ground roll by 15%)
Runway Slope: Flat (Actual runway had an upslope for first one-half of runway)
Flaps: 20 degrees
Page 5 of 10 CHI03FA088
Power: Set properly before brake release. Normal engine operation.
Proper speeds and techniques used.
Ground Roll at 15 degrees C: 1/2 (670 + 720) = 695 feet.
Ground Roll on Grass (+ 15%): 695 + 15% = 799 feet.
Distance to Climb to 50 feet AGL:
Distance at 15 degrees C: 1/2 (590 + 630) = 610
Takeoff Distance to 50 feet @ 15 degrees C: 799 + 610 = 1409 feet
At 1545, the surface weather observation at Pella Airport (PEA) located approximately 40 nautical miles west was: wind 280 at 10 knots, sky clear, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 15 degrees Celsius, dew point -3 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.
At 1552, the surface weather observation at Cedar Rapids Airport (CID) located approximately 33 nautical miles northeast was: wind 300 at 14 knots, sky clear, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 12 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury.
7IA1 is located 4 miles southwest of North English, Iowa. It is a private use airport, and permission to use the airport is required prior to landing. The airport information lists Runway 9/27 (2,400 feet by 70 feet, turf) as the only runway. There is no mention of a north/south runway or taxiway. The airport owner identified it as a taxiway and confirmed that Runway 9/27 was the only registered runway at the airport. The airport elevation is 875
feet mean sea level. The north/south taxiway is approximately 1,000 feet by 70 feet. The taxiway was rolled flat with no ruts. The grass was dry on the day of the accident. There is an elevation rise of about 5-7 feet upwards from south to north on the southern half of the taxiway. The northern half of the taxiway is flat. A hangar building is located at the northern end of the taxiway. Trees approximately 50 feet in height are located on the north side of the road on the centerline of the taxiway.
The CAP reported that between April 2001 and June of 2002, the airport owner and the wing commander of the Iowa CAP had made an agreement that the Iowa CAP airplanes could be flown to 7IA1 on maintenance flights. The airport owner, who was also a member of the Iowa CAP at the time, was a FAA certified A&P mechanic and he maintained six of the CAP airplanes. In August 2002, the Iowa CAP wing aircraft maintenance program discontinued using 7AI1 for maintenance. The last CAP authorization to use 7IA1 was in August 2002.
The airport owner reported that neither of the accident pilots had contacted him requesting to use the airport to practice landings. He was not at the airport when the accident occurred.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT DAMAGE
The airplane wreckage was located approximately 175 feet northwest of the northern end of the north/south taxiway at 7IA1. The airplane hit a 3-phase power line that was about 35 feet high that ran east/west along a county road. A fence about 3 feet in height located below the power line was also impacted. The wreckage came to rest in the ditch and on the south lane of the road. The airplane was slightly inverted on its right side. There was no post impact fire. The coordinates were 41 degrees 29.779 minutes north, 092 degrees 9.128 minutes west.
The wreckage path was oriented on a northerly heading. The right wingtip strobe assembly was located about 20 feet south of the fence. The top two barbed wire strands of the fence were shiny from impact. The power line wires just above the fence had not broken, but they exhibited impact marks. Both wings were separated from the fuselage but remained attached by the aileron control cables. The right wing was broken in two major sections and was found in the ditch under the right side the fuselage. The left wing was found on the road next to the cabin and engine compartment. The outboard 4-5 feet wing section was cut off from the left wing in a diagonal cut. The outboard half of the right horizontal stabilizer was crushed up and aft. The left horizontal stabilizer and the vertical stabilizer received minimal damage.
Control cable continuity was confirmed from all the flight control surfaces to the forward cabin area. The fuel selector was in the “BOTH” position. The cockpit throttle, mixture, propeller, and carburetor heat controls were found in the full forward position. The flap jackscrew measurement equated to approximately 15 degrees of flap extension. The inspection of the engine revealed that the crankshaft rotated and there was continuity through the drive train and accessory section. All cylinders exhibited thumb compression and suction. The spark plugs were examined and no anomalies were noted. Spark was observed from each magneto lead. Both propeller blades were loose in the blade hub and exhibited leading edge damage and chordwise scratching. Rotational scoring was found on the backside of the spinner.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the CFI at the Broadlawns Hospital Morgue, Des Moines, Iowa, on March 23, 2003.
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. No carbon monoxide, cyanide, or ethanol was detected. Quinine was present in the blood and urine. Quinine is found in tonic water, and is used to treat severe malaria. It is also commonly used to reduce the frequency of nocturnal leg cramps (a condition which may cause painful leg muscle spasms at night), and is available as an over-the-counter nutritional supplement marketed for this purpose.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the Civil Air Patrol, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors were parties to the investigation. The airplane wreckage was released to the Civil Air Patrol.