Aviation Accident Report: Pathfinder Flying Service accident on 19 December 1942

Aviation Accident Report: Pathfinder Flying Service accident on 19 December 1942  (1944) 
by Fred A. Toombs

Adopted: January 10, 1944

File No. 2991-42

on the
Investigation of an Accident Involving Aircraft
During a Local Practice Flight

Howard Hans Petersen was fatally injured in an accident which occurred approximately one mile south of Minden Airport, Minden, Nevada, at about 4:30 p.m. on December 19, 1942. Petersen was a Naval Reserve trainee in the War Training Service secondary course. He held a student pilot certificate and had accumulated approximately 47 hours of flying time. He had flown 11 solo and 12 dual hours in the type aircraft involved. The aircraft, a Fairchild N-62B, NC 41833, owned by the Pathfinder Flying Service, Ltd., was demolished.

Petersen, flying solo from the rear seat and equipped with a parachute, took off from Minden Airport at about 4:00 p.m. and proceeded to his assigned practice area to practice lazy eights, chandelles, stalls and 720° power turns. Another student, flying in an adjacent area at approximately the same altitude (3000 feet), observed him practicing maneuvers. This student stated that Petersen's plane appeared to fall out of a lazy "8" into a spin, which became flat after about six turns. At one time it appeared that partial recovery was made. However, it was not completed, he stated, and the flat spin continued to the ground.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no failure of any part of the aircraft prior to the accident. The manner in which the propeller was broken indicated that little or no power was being developed at the time of impact. The weather was suitable for flying and is not considered to have been a contributing factor.

The pilot's flight log disclosed that he had completed seven one-hour instruction flights in precision spins within the month preceding the accident. Four of these flights involved dual instruction, and three were solo practice. His instructor stated that he had given Petersen instruction in accidental stalls and spins out of tight turns and chandelles, and that he seemed quite proficient in recovering from these abnormal situations.

This accident was due to failure to recover from a spin, for reasons not determined.


/s/ Fred A. Toombs

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).