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N630SW accident description

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Tail numberN630SW
Accident dateJune 03, 2003
Aircraft typeCessna 182Q
LocationGettysburg, SD
Near 44.998333 N, -100.211944 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 3, 2003, about 0942 central daylight time, a Cessna 182Q, N630SW, piloted by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain near Gettysburg, South Dakota. The flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight originated from Dickinson Municipal Airport (DIK), near Dickinson, North Dakota, at time unknown and was destined for Lawrence Municipal Airport (LWC), near Lawrence, Kansas. The flight was returning from a fishing trip.

The airplane was fueled on May 30, 2003, when it arrived at DIK. The airplane was fueled with 53.3 gallons of 100 low lead fuel. The receipt for the fuel showed that the pilot purchased an instrument "low enroute" chart and "[terminal] procedures".

A witness stated that he dropped the pilot off at DIK for his return flight on June 3, 2003, at about 0730 mountain daylight time. The witness did not see the airplane depart. There was no record of a weather briefing for the accident flight.

The flight was reported as missing when it did not return at LWC. Civil Air Patrol and the Potter County Sheriff's Office performed a search for the aircraft. The aircraft was spotted at 0601 on June 4, 2003. It was found at 44 degrees 59.893 minutes North latitude and 100 degrees 12.711minutes West longitude.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. That private pilot certificate was issued on December 14, 1994. The pilot had in his possession, a third class medical certificate with no limitations, dated April 10, 1997. His logbook showed an entry for an instrument proficiency check on October 11, 2000 and an entry for a flight review on June 12, 2002. The logbook showed the pilot logged 2.4 hours of actual instrument flight time on October 13, 2000 and logged .4 hours of simulated instrument flight time on June 12, 2002. The pilot's logbook had entries totaling 559.2 hours of total flight time. The logbook's last flight entry was dated November 11, 2002, and that entry did not list any flight time.


N630SW, was a 1977-model Cessna 182Q, Skylane, serial number 18265516, single-engine, high-wing airplane. Its was powered by a 230-horsepower Continental O-470-U engine, serial number 273492-R. The propeller was a two bladed, constant speed, manufactured by McCauley. The airframe and engine underwent an annual inspection on November 13, 2002. The airplane had accumulated a total time of 2,190.7 hours at that annual inspection and the Hobbs meter had the same reading of 2,190.7 hours. The transponder, altimeter, altitude reporting system, and static pressure system checks were last performed on November 13, 2002.


At 0953, the Pierre Regional Airport, Pierre, South Dakota, weather was recorded as: Wind 140 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 6 statute miles; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 700 feet; temperature 12 degrees C; dew point 10 degrees C; altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury.

A witness, who lives two miles northwest of the accident site, said that the weather present that morning was hazy conditions, showers, and hard rain. The rain began about 0800 and ended by 0930. He reported the visibility as poor. He noted the wind conditions were east northeast at about 25 mph.

Weather radar imagery was reviewed. The indicated weather along a direct course from DIK to LWC was moderate to heavy rain around the time accident.


The aircraft was found impacted in terrain. The aircraft was lifted out of the ground with a backhoe. Sheriff's photographs revealed that the aircraft impacted terrain nearly vertical. The aircraft heading was about 220 degrees magnetic. The propeller was recovered from about four feet below grade. The propeller was bent rearward from the hub outward. Both propeller blades exhibited s-shaped bending about six inches from their tips. Both wing's leading edges were flattened rearward. The fuel bladders were ruptured. A semicircular shaped area of vegetation southwest of the aircraft exhibited blight. The fuselage was found crushed in an accordion like fashion with the empennage resting on top of the cabin area of the fuselage. The recovered engine was found with its number six cylinder bent rearward. The oil cooler was flattened on the front of the engine's number five cylinder. The propeller flange was found resting on the front of the engine case. The engine was disassembled for examination. The crankshaft was found with a separation on the cheek between the fifth and sixth journals. The crankshaft was retained for further examination.

An on-scene investigation was conducted. Rudder cables were traced from the rudder pedals to their respective surfaces. All breaks in the rudder cable were consistent with overload. The flap servo was found in the retracted position. Elevator cables were traced from the elevator to the cabin area behind the rudder pedals. All breaks in the elevator cables were consistent with overload. Aileron cables were traced from the ailerons to the cabin area by the rudder pedals. All breaks in the aileron cables were consistent with overload. The cabin flight controls were taken to the coroner's office and were not able to be reviewed on-scene. Engine controls were traced from the cockpit to the engine. Both magnetos produced spark when rotated by hand. The vacuum pump was found destroyed. The pump's base remained attached to the engine and its shear coupler was found intact. The Hobbs meter read 2,224.5 hours on-scene. The altimeter's Kollsman window read 29.86 inches of mercury.


The Potter County Coroner's office made arrangements for the autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy was performed on June 5, 2003.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report stated:

NO ETHANOL detected in Brain 28 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Muscle 63 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Blood 1 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-PROPANOL detected in Muscle 3 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-PROPANOL detected in Blood 9 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ACETALDEHYDE detected in Blood

Notes: The ethanol found in this case is from postmortem ethanol formation and not from the ingestion of ethanol.


The FAA supplied Recorded National Track Analysis Program (NTAP) radar data of a flight in the area of the accident site. That NTAP data was plotted. According to the data, the track of the flight was southeast. The data showed that the flight, at 1434:45Z [Zulu], started a climb from a pressure altitude of 5,600 feet to a pressure altitude of 7,700 feet at 1439:33Z. The flight's altitude varied between 7,600 and 7,700 feet of pressure altitude until 1442:09Z. The remaining data points exhibited a pattern in the shape of a descending spiral. The last radar contact was recorded at 1442:33Z. That radar return indicated a pressure altitude of 2,700 feet and was located at 44.991940 degrees North latitude and 100.206110 degrees West longitude. The NTAP radar data plot is contained in the docket material associated with this accident report.

The retained crankshaft was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Materials Laboratory for detailed examination. The Materials Laboratory produced factual report number 04-001. The crankshaft separation revealed fracture surfaces consistent with "an overstress shearing action." The materials laboratory report is contained in the docket material associated with this accident report.


The parties to the investigation included the FAA, Cessna, and Teledyne Continental Motors.

The aircraft wreckage and all retained items were released to a representative of the insurance company and to a representative of the fixed base operator at the Pierre Regional Airport.

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