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N37855 accident description

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Crash location 38.707222°N, 93.175834°W
Nearest city Sedalia, MO
38.700016°N, 93.231317°W
3.0 miles away
Tail number N37855
Accident date 31 Aug 2005
Aircraft type Porterfield FP-65
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 31, 2005, about 1930 central daylight time, a Porterfield FP-65 airplane, N37855, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain after takeoff from a private airstrip near Sedalia, Missouri. The local flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. The pilot sustained fatal injuries.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector assigned to the accident, a witness reported that the airplane rolled upside down and descended to the ground.


The FAA inspector reported that there was no record of the pilot ever having been issued a pilot or medical certificate. A flight time logbook for the pilot was not located.

Volunteer firefighters on-scene reported that the pilot was known to make short flights around the area late in the evening. They noted that the pilot maintained the airplane himself.


The accident airplane was a 1941 model year, Porterfield FP-65, serial number 1002. The FP-65 was a high-wing, single-engine, 2-place airplane, with a conventional (tail-wheel) landing gear configuration. The airplane was powered by a Franklin 4AC-176B, 65-horsepower, reciprocating engine.

According to the previous owner, the accident pilot purchased the airplane on October 11, 1999. FAA records still listed the previous owner as the owner of record. There was no record of the accident pilot submitting a registration application for the airplane.

Maintenance logbooks for the airplane were not located.


Weather conditions recorded by the Sedalia Memorial Airport (DMO) Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), located approximately 5 miles west of the accident site, at 1953 were: Clear skies, winds from 210 degrees at 5 knots, and visibility of 10 statute miles. Sunset was at 1944 on the day of the accident.


The accident site was located in a cornfield across the road from an open pasture the pilot used as an airstrip. The site and airstrip were approximately 5 miles east of DMO.

The airplane wreckage was confined to the immediate area of the impact. The airplane was resting on its nose, with the empennage oriented upward about 60-degrees relative to the terrain. The empennage was bent to the right about 45-degrees at a point between the aft cabin and the empennage. The wings were dislocated from the fuselage at the wing roots but remained in position adjacent to the airframe.

A post accident examination was conducted and no anomalies associated with a pre-impact failure were observed. The propeller blades were sheared off at the hub. The propeller blades appeared to be of a composite, carbon fiber construction. Internal engine and accessory section continuity were confirmed via crankshaft rotation. Compression was obtained at all cylinders.

The fuel tanks were ruptured and the fuel strainer (gascolator) was damaged. First responders to the accident site reported a strong fuel odor at the site.

The flight controls remained attached to the airframe. Flight control continuity was continuous except for where the wings had dislocated from the fuselage.


The FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute forensic toxicology report indicated the presence of ethanol in the pilot's post mortem blood, vitreous fluid, muscle, brain and urine samples. The testing measured 46 mg/dl of ethanol in the blood, 44 mg/dl in the vitreous fluid, 41 mg/dl in the muscle, 53 mg/dl in the brain, and 92 mg/dl in the urine samples.

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, by the Boone County medical examiner on September 1, 2005.


Title 14 CFR 91.17, Alcohol and Drugs, stated that a person may not act as a crew member of a civil aircraft with a blood alcohol level of 0.04 percent by weight or greater.

The FAA was a party to the investigation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed and the inadvertent stall/spin resulting in an in-flight loss of control and collision with terrain.

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