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N1406F accident description

Missouri map... Missouri list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Plattsburg, MO
39.565555°N, 94.448006°W
Tail number N1406F
Accident date 16 Sep 1999
Aircraft type Cessna 172H
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On September 16, 1999, at 1815 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 172H, N1406F, operated by a private pilot, was destroyed when on takeoff from runway 18 (2,100 feet by 20 feet; dry asphalt & turf) at Plattsburg Air Park, Plattsburg, Missouri, the airplane departed controlled flight and impacted the terrain. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. There was no flight plan on file. The pilot and two passengers on board the airplane were fatally injured. A third passenger was seriously injured. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

A friend of the pilot stated that he and the pilot flew the airplane on September 9, 1999, for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Prior to the flight, the pilot fueled the airplane from gas cans which he brought with him to the airport. The witness noticed that the fuel gauges indicated full for both wing tanks.

Two witnesses at the Plattsburg Air Park saw the airplane taxi to the end of the runway and perform an engine run-up. The witnesses said that during the takeoff roll the airplane had good acceleration and sounded good. One witness said that the airplane looked as if 10 degrees of flaps were extended. Neither witness saw the airplane lift off.

The two witnesses took off from Plattsburg Airport approximately 20 minutes after they saw N1406F on its takeoff roll. They flew to Cameron, Missouri, and back to Plattsburg. They estimated that the flight took 45 minutes. On approach from the south into the Plattsburg Air Park, the witnesses saw the airplane in a low- lying area, just south of the runway.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land airplane, dated February 23, 1998.

According to his logbook the pilot had accumulated 169.7 total flying hours, and 168.7 in the Cessna 172.


The airplane was purchased by the pilot in May of 1997. The pilot used the airplane for transportation, to and from his job in Louisville, Kentucky, and for pleasure.

The airplane had undergone an annual inspection on August 30, 1999. At the time of the annual inspection, the airplane had a recorded tachometer time of 1,840.07 hours. At the time of the accident, the tachometer read 1,845.94 hours.


The NTSB on Scene investigation began on September 17, 1999 at 1100 cdt.

The accident site was located in a low-lying grassy area, bordered on the west and north by woods, approximately 150 feet east of a north-south running dike which bordered the west edge of a small lake. The accident site was also located 1/4 mile south-south east of the departure end of runway 18 at the Plattsburg Air Park.

The accident site began with an 18 foot long, 7 inch wide impression in the ground, running eastward toward the airplane's main wreckage on a 105 degree magnetic heading. At the beginning of the impression was the airplane's left wingtip. It had been broken aft along the top and bottom longitudinal rivet lines. Approximately 10 feet east of the left wingtip, along the impression were several pieces of clear plexiglass. The largest piece was 9 inches long and 4 inches wide.

At the east edge of the impression was a 4 foot long, 3 foot wide ground scar. The scar was 5 inches at it's deepest point, near the west edge. Several pieces of clear plexiglass, fiberglass from the engine cowling, and a piece of exhaust manifold rested in the ground scar.

Approximately 22 feet, 7 inches from the left wingtip, and the beginning of the impression, was the airplane's propeller. The propeller was embedded face down in the ground. One blade was buried just under the ground surface. Both blades showed torsional bending and chordwise scratches. The spinner was crushed aft and twisted counter-clockwise. Mud and grass were embedded in the twisted metal. The propeller had broken off just aft of the flange. The flange and mounting bolts remained with the propeller.

Beginning at the east edge of the ground scar and extending southeastward on a 145 degree magnetic heading was an area containing debris, 15 feet long and 10 feet wide. Several large pieces of clear plexiglass, pieces of cabin interior, pieces of exhaust manifold, a muffler, two large pieces of the engine cowling, and some personal effects were contained in the debris area.

The airplane's main wreckage was located at the southeast edge of the debris area, 15 feet from the ground scar on a 105 degree magnetic heading. The main wreckage consisted of the airplane's cabin, wings, landing gear, engine, fuselage and empennage. The airplane was found resting on the remains of the forward cabin, instrument panel, firewall, engine, and leading edges of the left and right wings, at a 36 degree down penetration angle to the ground. The cabin was twisted counter-clockwise 56 degrees to the ground. The front of the cabin was oriented on a 328 degree magnetic heading.

The airplane's engine was pushed aft through the firewall. The airplane's firewall and instrument panel were bent forward and canted to the right. The front cabin floor was crushed upward into the instrument panel. Three of the airplane's four engine mounts were broken. The nose wheel was broken aft, below the scissors. The nose gear strut was bent aft and twisted left. The nose wheel pant was broken off. The front cabin ceiling was bent upward and right. The right cabin wall was broken outward. The right cabin door was broken off at the hinges, and resting beneath the right wing. The right cabin door was broken off at the hinges and bucked outward. The right cabin door window was broken out. The aft cabin was predominately intact. The right aft cabin window was broken inward. The inboard trailing edge of the right flap protruded through the broken window. The main landing gear struts and wheels were intact. The main landing gear pants were broken off.

The airplane's right wing was bent upward at the wing root approximately 34 degrees. The wing's leading edge was crushed aft 7 to 10 inches and bent upward, beginning 35 inches outboard of the wing root and running outward to the wingtip rivet line. The wing's top skin showed heavy wrinkles running aft and outward. The right wingtip was broken off longitudinally along the rivet line. The fiberglass wingtip was broken into several pieces and found resting beneath the right wing. The right wing fuel tank was intact and contained automobile fuel. Examination of the fuel revealed no water or sediment. The right strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage mounting bolts and showed no damage. The right flap was extended approximately 10 degrees. The inboard 36 inches of the flap was bent up and twisted forward approximately 105 degrees. The right aileron was bent upward 15 degrees, approximately 31 inches in from the outboard edge. Flight control continuity to the right aileron was confirmed.

The airplane's left wing was twisted upward at the wing root 45 degrees, and bent downward approximately 85 degrees. The wing's leading edge was crushed aft and bent upward, beginning 6 inches outboard of the wing root and running outward to the wingtip rivet line. The outboard 9 feet, 7 inches of the wing was twisted upward approximately 30 degrees. The wing's top and bottom skin showed heavy wrinkles running aft and outward. The left wingtip was broken off longitudinally along the rivet line. The left wing tank fuel line was broken. The smell of automobile fuel was prevalent. Vegetation within the area beneath the left fuel tank showed discoloration and withering. The left wing strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage mounting bolts. It showed a downward bend forming a 60 degree angle beginning 17 inched outboard of the fuselage mounting bolt. The left flap was extended approximately 10 degrees. The flap was bent upward 14 degrees, beginning 39 inches outboard of the root edge. The left aileron was bent 10 degrees upward at mid-span, just outboard of the center hinge, and 51 inches inboard of the aileron's outboard edge. Flight control continuity to the left aileron was confirmed.

The aft fuselage was broken laterally, 28 inches aft of the baggage compartment, and bent right 118 from the airplane's longitudinal axis.

The airplane's horizontal stabilizers and elevator showed no damage. The airplane's vertical stabilizer was intact. The top fiberglass cap containing the rotating beacon and VOR antennae was broken right. The rudder was also intact. A 7 inch long, 3/4 inch wide right side, trailing edge corner piece of the rudder's fiberglass cap was broken off. Flight control continuity to the elevator, elevator trim tab and rudder were confirmed.

Examination of instrument panel showed the engine primer unlocked and extended approximately 1/4 inch. Examination of the engine, remaining engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.


An autopsy of the pilot was performed by the Jackson County Medical Examiner, Kansas City, Missouri, on September 17, 1999.

Toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot were negative for all tests conducted.


Weight and balance was figured by the Cessna Aircraft Company, based on the load configuration of the airplane. The pilot's and passenger's weights were taken from estimates made by the Clinton County, Missouri, Medical Examiner and Clinton County Sheriff. Fuel weight was base on full fuel tank capacity of 39 gallons, less one hour and 20 minutes at a fuel consumption rate of 10 gallons per hour. The maximum gross weight for takeoff specified in the Model 172 Owner's Manual is 2,300 pounds. The aft center of gravity limit, at maximum gross weight is 109.0 pound-inches.

Weight Arm Moment Basic Airplane 1,407.55 37.28 52485.25

Pilot 215 14.1 Passenger, Seat #2 180

Passenger, Seat #3 190 18.3 Passenger, Seat #4 70

Baggage, Aft 30 2.8

Fuel 156 7.4

Total 2,248.55 95.085

Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office, Kansas City, Missouri, Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kansas, and Teledyne Continental Motors, Arvada, Colorado.

All airplane wreckage was released and returned to United States Aviation Underwriters, Incorporated.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during the initial climb. A factor relating to this accident was the inadvertent stall/spin.

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