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N1464U accident description

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Tail numberN1464U
Accident dateAugust 05, 1995
Aircraft typeCessna 172M
LocationQuilcene, WA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 5, 1995, approximately 1635 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N1464U, collided with mountainous terrain near Quilcene, Washington. Visual and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The flight had originated from Orcas, Washington, on August 5, 1995, at 1600, and was en route to Olympia, Washington, on a personal flight.

It was reported that this was a flight of two airplanes which had departed from the Eastsound Airport, Orcas. The pilot flying the lead airplane stated that the second airplane was trailing in his 4 o'clock position. The flight was to travel south-bound through the San Juan Islands toward Whidbey Island at 5,500 feet, however, due to an overcast layer at 5,000 feet, the airplanes climbed to and maintained 3,500 feet. After passing Whidbey Island, they were planning to fly over Lofal intersection, located approximately five miles south of Port Ludlow, Washington, and then continue to Olympia via Victor 287.

The lead pilot stated that as they approached the Port Townsend, Washington, area, the weather began to deteriorate and they were forced to descend to 1,500 feet to remain clear of the clouds. The lead pilot radioed the pilot in the second airplane and reported that he was going to switch over to Seattle Approach and pick up an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to Olympia. The pilot in the second airplane acknowledged this and stated that he would "drop down and break to the left (east)." The lead pilot stated that he last saw the second airplane turn to the east. He then radioed Seattle Approach for the clearance.

The lead pilot stated that he began a 360 degree orbit to remain in visual conditions while he was waiting for the clearance. While the lead airplane was waiting for the clearance, he heard the pilot in the second airplane contact Seattle Approach. The Seattle Approach controller instructed the pilot in the second airplane to stand by. The pilot in the lead airplane was then given an IFR clearance to Olympia. The pilot in the lead airplane stated that he turned to a southerly heading and began his climb to 4,000 feet. The pilot stated that he entered the clouds shortly thereafter and climbed in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) to 4,000 feet. The lead pilot stated that approximately two to three minutes later, he heard Seattle Approach trying to contact the pilot in the second airplane.

The pilot in the lead airplane stated that the weather to the north of Port Townsend was clear. The cloud conditions to the south were nearly to the ground.

The airplane was not reported overdue until approximately 2000 the night of August 5, 1995. A search was initiated and the wreckage was located on August 6, 1995, at 1700.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land operations and an instrument rating. At the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated approximately 933 hours of total flight time, with 295 hours in the Cessna 172. The pilot's flight logbook indicates that the pilot logged a total of 117 hours in actual instrument conditions.

The pilot in the lead airplane stated that the pilot in the second airplane had flown this route between Olympia and the San Juan Islands on several occasions and was very familiar with the terrain.

COMMUNICATIONS

At 1629, the pilot contacted Seattle Approach and reported that he was approximately three miles north of Port Townsend and wanted an IFR clearance. The controller instructed the pilot to remain clear of Class B airspace and to stand by.

At 1634, the controller contacted the pilot and requested to know the type of airplane and the pilot's destination. The pilot responded with the type of airplane and his destination to Olympia. The controller instructed the pilot to stand by for a beacon code and asked the pilot for his location. The pilot stated that he was near Port Townsend, but that his position was not accurate. Approximately ten seconds later, the pilot transmitted a garbled transmission with only "3,500" heard. Approximately 30 seconds later, the controller asked the pilot to report his full call-sign, however, there was no response from the pilot.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located at approximately 3,500 feet on the north side of a 3,900 foot mountain. The area was a clear cut with low brush, tree stumps and small trees measuring in height to 30 feet. The terrain angle was approximately 45 degrees.

The wreckage was positioned with the nose area pointing downhill. The left and right wings remained attached at the root to the upper roof section. The leading edge of the wings were positioned downhill and the entire wing sections were inverted. The left wing remained intact with the lift strut attached at the wing. The strut was bent nearly 90 degrees near its mid point. The aileron and flap remained attached at the hinges. The entire length of the leading edge was crushed rearward.

The right wing had separated between the outboard area of the flap and the inboard area of the aileron. The outboard section of the wing was found just below the main wreckage. Aft traveling tearing was noted on the inboard section. The entire length of the leading edge of the outboard section was crushed rearward. The flap remained attached to the inboard section, and a section of the aileron remained attached to the outboard section.

The fuselage from the instrument panel aft to the baggage compartment was completely destroyed and distorted. The cockpit area was crushed rearward and located directly under the wing section. The empennage was bent over to the right and separated from the fuselage aft of the baggage compartment. A second break was noted just forward of the vertical stabilizer, and this section was further bent to the right. The horizontal stabilizer with the elevator attached and the horizontal stabilizer with the rudder attached remained in place.

The engine separated from the fuselage with the instrument panel and firewall still attached. The engine was positioned inverted and the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. Both propeller blades displayed "S" bending, with leading edge scratches and gouges noted. The spinner was crushed rearward and flattened.

Approximately 30 feet to the north of the wreckage, a tree stump was noted with paint chips and small sections of metal debris located at its base. The right wing lift-strut was found a few feet from this stump on the south side. The strut was bent near its mid point. A magnetic bearing of 180 degrees was noted from the tree stump to the main wreckage. Three small trees in line with this bearing showed signs of impact to their outer bark. The top of one tree was broken off approximately ten feet up from the base.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Kitsap County, Bremerton, Washington, Pathology Associates, Dr. John Matan, reported that the cause of the pilot's death was due to multiple trauma. Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis. The results of the analysis were reported as negative.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

The wreckage was moved to a secured location in Renton, Washington. The engine was examined and found that the crankshaft rotated easily. Accessory gear and valve train continuity was established. Compression and suction were developed in each cylinder. The spark plugs displayed normal operating signatures and both magnetos produced a spark with hand rotation. The carburetor was destroyed, however, the throttle linkage remained attached. The vacuum pump rotated easily and the rotor and vanes remained intact. The alternator displayed impact damage and could not be tested.

Cockpit documentation of the master switch noted that the alternator was in the "off" position and the battery was "on." The ignition key was broken off and found in the left magneto position. The throttle and mixture were found in the full forward and rich positions.

During the on scene investigation, the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) was found near the wreckage. The case had separated in two and the battery pack was found loose from the case. Scotch tape was found around the outer case and appeared to have been holding the case together. There was no securing mount found.

Radar data provided from the Seattle Terminal Radar Approach Control facility indicates that at 1629, the first contact with the pilot, the airplane was at 1,500 feet and approaching the town of Dabob, Washington, and heading southerly.

At 1634, the pilot reported that his position was near Port Townsend, but that his position was not accurate. The radar target at that time indicates that the flight was located 24 miles south of Port Townsend and at 3,300 feet.

The radar data indicates that the ground path followed a southerly heading toward rising terrain. The airplane's altitude continued to rise from 1,500 feet at 1629, to 3,500 feet at 1633. The altitude descended to and leveled out at 3,300 feet at 1634, for the last two targets. The accident location was approximately one mile further south at the approximate 3,500 foot level.

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on October 4, 1995. The wreckage was stored at a facility near Renton, Washington.

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