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N6245E accident description

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Tail numberN6245E
Accident dateNovember 11, 1999
Aircraft typeCessna A185F
LocationAstoria, OR
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On November 11, 1999, approximately 1130 Pacific standard time, a Cessna A185F, N6245E, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during a go-around at Karpen airstrip, near Astoria, Oregon. The commercial pilot, the owner and sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The pilot had departed his home base of Inchelium, Washington, earlier that day. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. There was no flight plan filed for the flight. The ELT was reported to have actuated before it was disarmed by the sheriff's department.

A student pilot who witnessed the accident stated that the airplane had approached the airstrip from the east, over trees, and had touched down about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the 1800 foot sod runway. It had then initiated a go-around, with the sound of full power being added. It was observed to climb steeply with full flaps, then the right wing dropped, and the airplane rolled to the right and crashed inverted in trees in a gully beyond the end of the runway. An FAA inspector who inspected the wreckage noted that the mixture control was rich, the propeller was set at maximum rpm, and the throttle was at mid-range. The flaps were found fully extended at the scene, and there was a distinct odor of fuel. Sheriff's deputies removed about 40-60 pounds of cargo and personal effects.

Other witness statements stated that the pilot appeared to be high and fast on the approach to runway 28. One witness said the pilot "S"-turned and side-slipped on final approach. The airplane touched down from 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down the 1950 foot grass runway, shortly after which power was applied and the airplane climbed out at a steep angle. When the airplane was near the end of the runway, at an altitude that witnesses estimated as from 30 to 75 feet above ground level, the right wing dropped and the airplane descended at a steep angle into a ravine at the end of the runway, about 100 feet below the runway elevation.

When the aircraft was inspected after the accident, and after the pilot's remains were removed, the pilot's seat was found in the aft position, against the seat stop. FAA inspector interviews determined that the first persons on scene had found the seat in mid-range on the tracks and had attempted to move the seat to rescue the pilot. FAA inspectors stated that they found no evidence of preexisting mechanical deficiencies which could have contributed to this accident.

No preexisting mechanical deficiencies were found during the course of the investigation.

An autopsy of the pilot was performed by Dr. Larry V. Newman, November 12, at Portland, Oregon. Cause of death was listed as traumatic compression asphyxia. Toxicological testing of the pilot was performed by the FAA with negative results for CO, cyanide, and ethanol. Bupropion was detected in blood and urine. NTSB medical personnel noted that bupropion, under brand name Wellbutrin, is a prescription medication used for the treatment of depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and-more recently-for prescription use in smoking cessation. The FAA does not permit an aviation medical examiner (AME) to issue a medical certificate on mood-altering medications and has issued specific guidance prohibiting AME's from certifying pilots using Zyban (a bupropion brand-name) for smoking cessation unless the pilot does not take the medication within 72 hours of flight.

In a telephone interview, the pilot's daughter stated that her father had been a long-time smoker and was attempting to quit smoking. He had been taking Zyban, and had been using other measures such as gum and patches in his attempt to stop smoking.

The wreckage was removed to Specialty Aircraft, in Redmond, Oregon, after the accident. The NTSB did not take possession of the wreckage.

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