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N2371G accident description

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Tail numberN2371G
Accident dateJanuary 18, 2001
Aircraft typeCessna 182B
LocationPiedmont, KS
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 18, 2001, at 1300 central standard time, a Cessna 182B, N2371G, operated by a commercial pilot, was destroyed on impact with power lines and terrain along an east-west highway located approximately two miles west of Piedmont, Kansas. 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 commercial pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The local flight originated at time unknown.

A witness reported, "At about 1240 pm I was headed west on 400 [highway] following a ...truck about 1 mile between us when I saw a plane about 35 feet over [their] trucks. Then it came down to about 5 ft off the ground. I slammed on my brakes and went to the ditch. The pilot of the plane razed up his left wing and just [missed] me. ... I thought it was a red [and] white plane. This [happened] at the 336 mile post.

A second witness reported, "I was westbound on 400. First saw plane about 2 miles east of where it crashed. It was northbound about 150' in [the] air, its speed seemed normal. Pilot then circled over the then proceeded south in level flight. Next time I saw the plane it's shadow passed over me at which time I looked up and saw the plane westbound at probably 30 mph faster than myself. I was going about 60 mph climbing the hill. I considered its speed normal cruise (I am a private pilot). He did not appear to be trying to land based on his speed. His vertical stabilizer caught high line; nosing his plane into road. Plane was in flames when I got stopped..."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 71 year old pilot held a commercial certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He received a third class medical certificate on January 3, 2001 with a limitation stating, "must have available glasses for near vision. valid for 6 months following the month examined". Logbook records indicate that he accumulated a total flight time of 4,518 hours, of which 8 hours were in the last 90 days.

The 69 year old passenger held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He received a third class medical certificate on December 20, 2000 with a limitation stating, "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision". The passenger reported a total flight time of 520 hours at the application of his medical certificate.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1958 Cessna 182B, serial number 51671, was registered to the pilot. Logbook records indicated that the airplane was powered by a Continental O-470-L, serial number 68741-8-L-4 engine. The engine did not possess a data plate. An annual inspection of the airframe and engine was logged on September 12, 2000 at a total airframe and engine time of 3,306.8 hours.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was resting along the southern edge of highway 400 near mile marker 345. Power lines which were estimated to be 50 feet agl, traversed highway 400 and were located approximately 429 feet east of the main wreckage. Red translucent material similar to a rotating airplane beacon lens was present beneath the power lines.

The left wing was attached to the airframe through the spar and the right wing was separated and with the main wreckage. Flight control continuity of the ailerons, elevator and rudder was confirmed to the cockpit. The cockpit was destroyed by fire. The trailing edge flap control was in the flap retracted position.

The right fuel tank contained approximately 1/2-3/4 tank of liquid consistent with auto gas. The left fuel tank was destroyed by fire.

The engine was attached to the airframe by its respective control cables for the throttle, mixture and propeller. The underside of the engine's oil pan was crushed and exhibited scratching and gouging in the longitudinal direction. One propeller blade was attached to the propeller hub which was attached to the engine. The second propeller blade was found near the forward left side of the fuselage and firewall. Both propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratching. The separated propeller blade was twisted and curled. The engine was rotated by hand and air was expelled from each cylinder. Both magnetos were rotated by hand and a spark from each of the top ignition harness leads was noted. The engine's oil suction screen did not contain any contaminants.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot and passenger were conducted by the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, Wichita, Kansas.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) toxicological test results of the pilot reported the presence of Ranitidine and Cimetidine. Cimetidine and Ranitidine are medications used to reduce stomach acid. They are avialable over-the-counter for the relief of heartbrun, acid indigestion, and sour stomach.

FAA toxicological test results of the passenger were negative for all substances tested.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Federal Aviation Regulation 91.119, Minimum safe altitudes, states, "Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following attitudes: ...(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

The Aeronautical Information Manual states, section 7-5-3, Obstruction to Flight, states, "a. General: Many structures exist that could significantly affect the safety of your flight when operating below 500 feet AGL, and particularly below 200 feet AGL. While 14 CFR Part 91.119 allows flight below 500 AGL when over sparsely populated areas or open water, such operations are very dangerous. At and below 200 feet AGL there are numerous power lines, antenna towers, etc., that are not marked and lighted as obstructions and therefore may not be seen in time to avoid a collision..."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the Deputy Sheriff of Greenwood County.

The FAA and Cessna Aircraft Company were parties to the investigation.

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