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N2643C accident description

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Tail numberN2643C
Accident dateDecember 07, 2007
Aircraft typeCessna R182
LocationWoodland, AL
Near 33.627223 N, -85.531389 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 7, 2007, at 2117 central standard time (CST), (unless otherwise noted, all times are based on a 24 hour clock) a Cessna R182, N2643C, registered to Cherry Tree Aviation LLC, operated by Executive Flight Center, collided with trees and the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Woodland, Alabama. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplane was destroyed. The commercial pilot flight instructor (PIC) and student pilot were fatally injured. The flight originated from Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Florida at 1947:50 eastern standard time (EST) on December 7, 2007.

Review of transcripts between N2643C and Orlando Tower revealed the pilot was cleared for take off from runway seven with a left turn to the northwest after take off. The pilot acknowledged the clearance and was provided a transponder code by the local controller. At 1955:22, the pilot requested flight following and there was no response from the local controller. At 1956:51, the pilot stated, "Orlando, Skylane two six four three Charlie." There was no response from the controller, and no other record of any contact with any FAA air traffic control facility for the remainder of the flight.

A witness, who lived in the vicinity of the crash site, stated he heard an airplane fly over his house between 2115 to 2130 at a high rpm. A short time later he heard an impact and immediately called the emergency 911 operators to report the accident. Bethel East Volunteer Fire Department personnel located the wreckage at 2237.

Review of the radar track recorded by the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR-1) long range radar system between 1956:32 to 2050:54 EDT, located in Ashburn, Georgia, 152 miles southeast of the accident site revealed at 1956:32, the airplane was at 1,700 feet mean sea level (MSL). The minimum enroute altitude (MEA)/minimum obstruction clearance altitude (MOCA) along the flight route varied from 2,500 to 3,500 feet MSL from the last radar return to Lagrange, Georgia. From Lagrange to the accident site the MEA was 3,200 feet MSL. The cruising altitude required by 14 CFR Part 91.159 required aircraft flying a magnetic course of 180 degrees through 359 degrees, to fly an even altitude plus 500 feet. The airplane was at 1,700 feet at 1956:32 and was at 2,300 feet at 200:31, flying towards the northwest. The airplane's altitude varied between 2,000 feet to 2,200 feet between 2014:45 and 2031:39. The airplane turned to the right at 2044:17 and was at 2,200 feet. At 2046:54, the airplane turned back to the northwest and was at 2,400 feet. The airplane continued to the northwest. The last radar return was at 2050:54, and the airplane was at 2,100 feet, approximately 70 statute miles southeast of the accident site.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot-in-command, age 28, held a commercial pilot certificate issued on December 18, 2003, with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition the pilot held a flight instructor certificate issued on December 30, 2006, with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot held a first class medical certificate issued on February 26, 2007, with no restrictions. The pilot reported on her application for the medical certificate that she had accumulated 1,600 total flight hours. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed the flight time entries were not totaled and numerous pages had yellow sticky notes with flight time entries. The majority of the entries did not list the registration number, and the make and model of the airplane being flown. The last recorded entry in the logbook was on December 6, 2007. The pilot's last recorded night flight was on November 29, 2007, and the pilot had logged 1.6 hours of night flight in the last 90 days. The pilot had flown 19.8 hours in the last 30 days and 89.4 hours in the last 90 days. The pilot's last flight review and total flight time in the Cessna R182 could not be determined. The pilot's last certified flight instructor renewal was conducted on December 30, 2006.

The husband of the deceased pilot stated his wife did not have a sleep disorder or take any medication to help her sleep, and she was a vegetarian; she ate healthy three meals a day. Her sleep patterns normally stayed the same during their off days and when they took a trip together. She liked to get about 9 hours of sleep, however she normally averaged 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It normally took his wife between 10 to 15 minutes to get to sleep and she would awake 1 to 2 times a night to get a drink of water or go the bathroom. His wife had been complaining the week before the accident that she was not getting enough sleep and that they needed to start getting to bed a little earlier, between 2030 to 2100 hours. They started their new schedule on December 2, 2007, and adhered to it on every night except for December 4, 2007. He stated he did not recall what time his wife awoke on December 6, 2007, and he met his wife at a retirement center at 1545. They departed the retirement center and went to a local store, their church and back to the retirement center. His wife left the retirement center to go home to have dinner and go to bed between 1930 to 2000, due to an early flight on December 7, 2007, to Orlando, Florida. The husband stated, "he remembered thinking that his wife would only get about 4 hours of sleep because she would be getting up at 0045AM on Friday morning December 7, 2007." He arrived home at midnight and inadvertently woke his wife up. They exchanged greetings and his wife went back to sleep, and he woke her up at 0045. His wife departed the house at about 0100 and drove to the airport, and he called her on the cell phone at 0120 while she was driving. His wife appeared to be alert during their conversation. He went back to sleep, awoke, called his wife on the phone after she arrived in Orlando, and sent her several e-mails through the day. At the time of the accident the PIC had been awake about 20.5 hours.

Review of a transcript between the pilot and the FAA Nashville Federal Contract Facility, Automated Flight Service Station revealed the pilot called the flight service station at 0147 and filed an instrument flight plan. During the filing of the flight plan the pilot missed providing the departure time and altitude to the quality assurance specialist. The telephone call was terminated at 0150. The flight departed Madison County Executive/Tom Sharp Jr. Field at 0227 and arrived at Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Florida, at 0645 EST.

According to the line supervisor at Shelt Air in Orlando, Florida, the airplane arrived before 0700. One of the crewmembers stated, "they were in from Alabama and that it had been a long day since it started at midnight." The line supervisor stated, "The pilot's body language looked as if the pilot was worn out and needed some rest." The pilot asked if they had a courtesy car so she could take the other pilot to a hotel to attend a conference, and that she was going to get some rest after she returned. Both pilots departed in the courtesy car and the female pilot returned at 0900. The line supervisor stated she went to the crew room and appeared to be sleeping in a lounging chair with a blanket for about 2 to 4 hours. Review of e-mail messages between the pilot and her husband revealed two e-mails were sent and replied to between 1150 and 1151 EST. The line supervisor observed the pilot eating pizza that was delivered to Shelt Air as a part of customer appreciation day at about 1230, and she also received a courtesy massage. The pilot asked if she could use the courtesy car later in the afternoon to pick up the other pilot. The courtesy car was not available and the pilot rented a car from Hertz at 1715, and it was returned at 1900.

An individual who was working on a graduate degree with a University asked pilots to help with a research project by completing a survey of pilots' concerning lapses in judgment. The accident pilot completed the survey. One of the questions on the survey stated, "I'll fly even when I' tired." The pilot responded with the No. 4 answer, usually. The pilot stated in an additional statement to the survey, " If flying is your full time job, you are more likely to fly tired-also tired is a relative term."

The student pilot, age 36, held a third class medical and a student pilot certificate issued on May 25, 2007, with no restrictions. The student pilot's logbook revealed his last recorded flight was on November 9, 2007. No flights were recorded in a Cessna R182. The student pilot had a total of 23.8 hours, of which 30 minutes were in the Cessna 172 and 23.3 hours were an American Champion. The pilot had flown 2.9 hours in the last 30 days and 8.2 hours in the last 90 days.

The wife of the deceased student pilot stated her husband did not have a sleep disorder or take any medication to help him sleep, and he would normally eat when he had time to eat. He normally only required 4 to 5 hours of sleep and he would go to sleep between 2200 to 2300 hours. He kept a notepad next to the bed. He was the most hyperactive person that you would ever meet. If he awoke in the night he would lay there and think, write some notes, or get up and go in the other room and do some office work on the computer. His sleep pattern was the same every day, including weekends, holidays, and while on vacation. Her husband wanted to attend a conference in Orlando. He did not want to depend on the airlines on getting him to and from Orlando, so he could spend the weekend with his children. In addition, he wanted to build some flight time. She could not remember what time her husband started to work the day before the accident. He went to bed at 2045, awoke at 0130, and went to the airport at 0145 to meet his instructor at 0200. She called her husband at 0630, and her husband stated the other pilot had driven him to the conference and that she was going to return to the airport to get some rest. She talked to her husband again at 1745, and he stated they were on their way back to the airport and that he should be home at 2200. Her husband called her at 1815 and left a message on her cell phone that they had been delayed in traffic, his phone battery was low, and he would be home in 3 to 4 hours. At the time of the accident the student pilot had been awake about 20 hours.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four seat, single-engine high-wing airplane, serial number (S/N) R18200190, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a Lycoming O-540-J3C5D, 235 hp engine and was equipped with a McCauley model B2D34C214/90DHB-8 constant speed propeller. A review of the aircraft logbook revealed the last entry was on November 29, 2007, and the tachometer indicated 3425.9 hours. The last annual inspection was conducted on February 23, 2007, and the tachometer and airframe total time was 3163.7 hours. The last 100-hour inspection was conducted on October 6, 2007, and the tachometer indicated 3363.6 hours. As of the last entry in the aircraft logbook the airplane had flown 62.3 hours. A major engine overhaul was conducted on January 15, 1997 at tachometer time 2056.8 hours and the total time on the engine was 2056 hours. The total time on the engine as of November 29, 2007, was 1369.1 hours. The last oil change was conducted on November 7, 2007 and the tachometer indicated 3420.7 hours. The last pitot static and transponder test was conducted September 28, 2007, and the tachometer indicated 3372.1 hours. Work Order 290-11-2007 was submitted on November 29, 2007 for an erratic transponder problem. A pitot static and transponder verification test was completed and the transponder was found to be within limits. The tachometer and Hobbs meter were not located at the crash site and the total airframe and engine times were not determined. The airplane was refueled at Shelt Air, Orlando, Florida, on December 7, 2007; with 61.2 gallons of 100 low lead fuel.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 2153 surface weather observation at Anniston Metropolitan Airport, located 30 nautical miles northwest of the crash site, was: wind 050 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 8 miles, 1,500 broken, 4,600 overcast, temperature 14 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 11 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.23.

Astronomical data obtained from the United States Naval Observatory website revealed sunset was at 1634 and end of twilight was at 1701. Moonrise was at 0446 and moon set was at 1453.The phase of the moon was waning crescent with four percent of the moon's visible disk illuminated.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located behind a private residence located in the vicinity of Woodland, Alabama. Examination of the crash revealed the airplane collided with the trees about 35 feet above the base of the trees, and the ground in a right descending nose down attitude, and came to rest inverted on a heading of 305 degrees. The engine was buried four feet below the surface of the ground and the upper and lower engine cowlings were destroyed.

Examination of the airframe and flight controls revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The instrument panel, and flight instruments were fragmented, and the autopilot was destroyed. Both propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub. The propeller hub was fractured and partially separated from the propeller crankshaft flange. One propeller blade exhibited "s" bending with chord wise scratching on the cambered and non-cambered sides of the propeller blade, and nicks were present on the trailing edge of the propeller blade. The other propeller blade exhibited torsional twisting and "s" bending. Diagonal scratching was present on the cambered side of the propeller blade and a gouge was present on the leading edge four inches inboard of the propeller tip. Partial disassembly of the engine assembly and recovered accessories revealed no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical malfunction. The right side exhaust stack assembly, muffler, and tailpipe were separated and crushed. The cabin heat shroud was removed and no gray powdery deposits were observed on the surface of the muffler or the interior surface of the shroud. The right side cabin air heat shroud remained attached to the muffler and was crushed. The left side muffler, and tailpipe were separated and crushed. The left side exhaust stack assembly remained attached and was crushed. The left side carburetor air heat shroud remained attached to the left muffler and was crushed. The carburetor heat shroud was removed and no gray powdery deposits were observed on the surface of the muffler or the interior surface of the shroud.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science, Montgomery, Alabama, performed an autopsy on the pilot-in-command on December 9, 2007. The reported cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed. No ethanol was detected in the liver. The testing was negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs and putrefaction was present.

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science, Montgomery, Alabama, performed an autopsy on the student pilot on December 9, 2007. The reported cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed. Ethanol, 107 (mg/dl, mg/hg) was detected in the muscle, and 32 (mg/dl, mg/hg) were detected in the liver. N-propanol, 4 (mg/dl, mg/hg) was detected in the muscle and 5 (mg/dl, mg/hl) were detected in the liver. N-butanol, 2 (mg/dl, mg/hg) was detected in the muscle. No putrefaction was noted.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Review of the Cessna Pilot Operating Handbook for the Skylane Mode

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.