ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45986
Last updated: 15 April 2021
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-180
Owner/operator:West Central Airways, Inc.
Registration: N55893
C/n / msn: 28-7305495
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:ERHARD, MN -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Detroit Lakes, MN (DTL)
Destination airport:Fergus Falls, MN (FFM)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The owner of the airplane said that he and the pilot had flown to Detroit Lakes (DTL), Minnesota, in the airplane so that the owner could pick up another airplane and ferry it back to Fergus Falls (FFM), Minnesota. The owner said the flight to DTL was uneventful. At DTL, they checked the weather for the return flight. The automatic weather observing/reporting system (AWOS) at FFM was reporting a ceiling of 800 feet overcast and 7 miles visibility. The owner took off in a Piper Seneca before the pilot took off. The owner said that he heard the pilot over his airplane radio departing DTL. En route to FFM, the pilot contacted the owner and inquired if the owner got up okay. The owner responded that everything was working. The pilot then said, "You must be close to Fergus [Falls]". The owner said that he was 11 miles from FFM at that time. The owner said he landed right at 2000. While taxiing to the ramp, the owner said he tried to call the pilot on the airplane's radio. There was no response. The owner parked his airplane and went into the fixed base operator (FBO) to contact the pilot on the FBO radio. Again, there was no response. A witness on a farm located near the accident site said that he first heard the airplane. "We couldn't see it. It was in the clouds or fog." The witness said the ground visibility was good. "The airplane appeared out of the fog approximately up 150 ft. spiraling sharp to the right, and going down fast. It only took a few seconds for it to hit the ground." The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. At 2017, the AWOS at FFM, 15 miles south of the accident site, reported sky conditions 600 overcast, 7 miles visibility, temperature 21 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 14 degrees F, winds 150 degrees at 12 knots, and altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury. An examination of the airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors relating to the accident were the pilot's encounter with known adverse weather conditions, the low ceiling, the pilot disregarding the weather observation information obtained prior to the flight, and the pilot's lack of instrument experience.



Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 10:47 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description