Accident Wittman W-8 Tailwind N12038,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133773
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Date:Tuesday 20 January 1998
Type:Silhouette image of generic TAIL model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Wittman W-8 Tailwind
Owner/operator:Russell P. Hasenbalg
Registration: N12038
MSN: 184
Total airframe hrs:920 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Lodi, WI -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:DLL
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On January 20, 1998, at 1107 central standard time (cst), a Nerstrom Tailwind W-8, N12038, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during a collision with the frozen, snow covered surface of Lake Wisconsin during a low pass. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight departed Baraboo, Wisconsin, at 1030 cst.

The pilot stated in his written statement that he left Baraboo, Wisconsin, for a short local flight. He said that after 30 minutes of flying he descended over Lake Wisconsin, near Lodi, Wisconsin, to check and see "...if anyone had been using the lake at [the] restaurant area..." for landing. He said that he "dropped down to abut 50 feet over the lake [while] looking out the left door window..." at his shadow. When the airplane went under a cloud, the pilot said he realized he could no longer see his shadow. The pilot said he contacted the ice "... the instant [he] could no longer see [his] shadows."

During a telephone conversation, the pilot said he lost visual reference when the airplane's shadow disappeared. The pilot said that he could not tell where the lake surface was due to the whiteout conditions he encountered. He stated he pulled up to gain altitude, but the main landing gear contacted the ice, shearing it off. He said on the subsequent bounce, the wing struts were overloaded and the wings broke off.

In the book Flight Training Manual by Transport Canada, overcast whiteout is described as "...a uniform layer of cloud over a snow-covered surface." The sunlight is "...scattered and diffused..." in between the overcast clouds and snow surface in all directions. This results in "...the space between the ground and cloud appear[ing] to be filled with a diffused light with a uniform white glow. Depth perception is completely lacking as the sky blends imperceptibly with the ground at the horizon line, causing disorientation."
PROBABLE CAUSE:the pilot's failure to maintain a proper altitude due to the whiteout conditions. Factors associated with the accident were the low pass performed by the pilot and the visual illusion created by the whiteout conditions.


NTSB id 20001211X09408

Revision history:

21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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