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N4477C accident description

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Tail numberN4477C
Accident dateApril 04, 1998
Aircraft typeCessna 195
LocationCape May, NJ
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 4, 1998, at 1942 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 195, N4477C, performed a forced landing to the water, about 2 miles south-southwest of Cape May, New Jersey. Neither the airplane nor the certificated commercial pilot have been recovered. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that departed Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, about 1524, destined for Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

A review of a recording of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications, revealed that the pilot had been talking to the Dover Air Force Base Approach Control. When the airplane was about 7 miles southeast of the Waterloo VOR, the Dover controller advised the pilot to contact the ACY Approach control. When the pilot contacted the ACY controller, he stated that he was descending from 5,500 feet, to 5,000 feet, and requested to continue the descent to 3,000 feet.

The ACY controller cleared the airplane down to 3,000 feet, and direct to the Sea Isle VOR. About 1 1/2 minutes later the pilot stated, "Mayday." When the ACY controller asked what help the pilot needed, the pilot stated, "We've lost our engine it appears like." The controller then advised the pilot that Cape May Airport was at his 11 O'clock position, and 12 miles, and suggested a heading of 040 degrees.

The ACY controller contacted the Dover controller by land line, and asked if the airplane was over water. The Dover controller responded that the airplane was over water, and about 3 miles closer to the New Jersey coast.

A commercial airline pilot on the ACY radio frequency transmitted suggested items that the Cessna pilot could check. The Cessna 195 pilot reported that the carburetor heat was on, and the mixture was in. In response to a suggestion to check the fuel selector, the Cessna 195 pilot replied, " We're running out of ground here."

The ACY and Dover controllers conferred on the land line again, and both stated that the airplane disappeared from radar about 2 miles south of the New Jersey coast.

A pilot that flew a Cessna 210 through the Atlantic City area about 1900, April 4, 1998, was interviewed by telephone. During the interview, the pilot stated he departed Goldsboro, North Carolina, for White Plains, New York, on April 4, 1998. He departed on an IFR flight plan, about 1700, and initially climbed to 11,000 feet, where he was on top of the cloud layers. In the vicinity of Franklin, Virginia, he obtained a clearance to 13,000 feet to stay on top of the clouds, because the tops had risen. Then in the vicinity of Cape Charles, Virginia, he obtained a clearance to 15,000 feet, again, to stay on top of the rising cloud layers. While in the vicinity of Norfolk, Virginia, he heard pilot reports of light rime icing at 7,000 feet.

The Cessna 210 pilot reported that he was at 15,000 feet, south of Waterloo VOR, about 1900. Due to the reports of icing that he had heard, and anticipating the descent in the New York area, he requested a quick descent from ATC down to 5,000 feet. The pilot believed that he was over the Delaware Bay when he reached 5,000 feet. He recalled the outside air temperature was minus 1 to minus 2 degrees C. He was still in clouds. When he turned on his landing light, he observed light to moderate wet/slushy snow on the windshield. He then requested, and was issued, 3,000 feet. As he descended through 3,500 feet the wet snow disappeared. When he reached 3,000 feet, he was clear of the clouds. The visibility was good, and their was a light rain. He did not encounter icing at 3,000 feet.

The United States Coast Guard commenced a search and rescue (SAR) operation the evening of April 4, 1998. About 1930, April 5, 1998, the SAR was ceased, after no contacts were developed.

A private search was commenced on April 6, 1998, and has continued with no reported findings.

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