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N2582G accident description

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Tail numberN2582G
Accident dateMay 27, 1994
Aircraft typeCessna 182B
LocationRock Springs, WY
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 27, 1994, approximately 2200 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Cessna 182B, N2582G, impacted the terrain near the approach end of runway 03 at Sweetwater County Airport, Rock Springs, Wyoming. The pilot and his two passengers received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The local personal pleasure flight, which departed the same airport earlier that evening, was in visual meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed, and it is not known whether the ELT was activated by the impact.

According to the wife of the pilot, on the day of the accident, the pilot and his immediate family departed Arkansas City, Kansas about 0715 central daylight time (CDT), and arrived at Rock Springs, Wyoming about 1600 mountain daylight time (MDT). Although the flight had stopped at Greeley, Colorado for rest and refueling, the pilot's wife figured that they had accumulated almost seven hours of flying time during this ten hour trip. After arriving in Rock Springs, the pilot spent about three hours visiting with relatives, and then made the decision to take two individuals up for a local sightseeing flight. The pilot and his two passengers returned to the airport and began refueling the aircraft in the "self-fueling" area sometime around 1900. According to family members, the pilot planned to refuel by going off-airport, and bringing back fuel in portable containers. A witness observed the pilot refueling around 1900 MDT, and the aircraft departed the airport sometime between 1915 and 2000.

No one reported seeing the aircraft again until about 2150, when it was observed approaching the airport from the east at about 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL). The pilot did not contact the airport UNICOM, and as he flew over the airport from east to west, he was observed by an airport employee who turned on the runway and taxiway lights. According to the employee, just after the aircraft passed the departure end of runway 27, it began a "tight" descending left turn. As the aircraft continued the descending turn southwest of the field, it appeared to bank to about 60 degrees, at which time the employee lost visual contact. Soon thereafter he heard the aircraft impact the terrain.

In a telephone interview with the pilot's wife, she said that she was surprised that he had decided to take his passengers flying, as it had been a "long day," and her husband was obviously tired from all the flying hours he had put in.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

During the time period that the aircraft was known to have departed Rock Springs Airport, the winds were out of the east to southeast at about three to five knots, and the visibility was ten miles or more. About 2120 MDT, which was about forty minutes prior to the accident, the winds had picked up to nine knots, and by 2140 MDT, the winds were recorded at eleven knots.

The weather observation taken at the airport at 2200 reported winds of 300 degrees at 18 knots, gusting to 25 knots, with light rain showers, and a reduction in visibility to seven miles. An airport employee said that just about the time that the aircraft was attempting to land, there were several gusts of wind of considerably higher velocity. The winds recorded 20 minutes after the accident were gusting to 31 knots.

Witnesses reported seeing lightning, and what appeared to be a building thunderstorm, moving toward the airport from the west just prior to the accident. Individuals in the town of Rock Springs, which is located about seven miles west of the airport, reported extremely strong wind gusts shortly before the accident. One witness reported that the wind blew a gas-powered barbecue across their patio, and another witness reported a back yard storage shed being moved off of its foundation.

The employee at the airport said that at the time of the accident, an area of low clouds and rain was moving rapidly toward the airport from the west.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft impacted the terrain on the western edge of a plateau upon which the airport sits. The initial point of ground contact was about 480 feet west of the runway 03 identification numbers, and the impact ground track ran for approximately 775 feet on a magnetic heading of 092 degrees. At the very beginning of the impact track, there were a number of approximately one foot high bushes, spread over about a ten foot distance, which had a number of small branches broken off. Immediately east of these bushes was a shallow ground impact scar about five feet long. Pieces of a fiberglass wing tip were found laying in this scar, along with small fragments of the left wing tip navigation light. About 50 feet east of the initial impact point, the aircraft passed through a four strand barbed-wire fence. The engine, forward portion of the cabin, and the left wing broke into numerous small pieces, and most of these pieces were spread along the first 360 feet of the impact path (see diagram). The right wing, the aft part of the cabin, and the empennage were found laying together 330 feet down the track. Portions of the engine had traveled over 500 feet down-track, and the left main wheel was found about 775 feet from the point of initial impact.

Except for the tail cone, every portion of the fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine compartment had been extensively damaged or destroyed. Aircraft sections that remained intact showed a considerable amount of bending, denting, tearing, and distortion. Engine mechanical continuity could not be positively determined due to the extensive damage, but all of the recovered engine parts were inspected by the investigative team, including a technical representative of Continental Engines, and no evidence of pre-impact malfunction or anomalies were found. Flight control continuity could not be positively established due to the extensive damage and destruction, but all recovered cables, turnbuckles, bellcranks, and associated flight control components were inspected for evidence of pre-impact malfunction, and none was found.

Both propeller blades were found near the barbed wire fence. One blade, which was still attached to the hub, had numerous leading edge impact indentations. It also showed span-wise twisting, and chordwise scarring along the outer half of its span. This blade, which also had indentations on its trailing edge, was curved backwards along its entire span. The curving becoming more pronounced as the distance from the hub increased. The other blade, which also showed longitudinal twisting, had a small number of leading edge impact indentations, and was scarred on both its front and back surfaces at an angle 45 degrees to its plane of rotation.

Numerous portions of the instrument panel had separated from the aircraft along the first half of the impact track, and all of the instruments were either destroyed or showed an extensive amount of damage.

ADDITIONAL DATA AND INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed by the Sweetwater County Coroner, and the cause of death was listed as massive cranio-thoracic trauma due to crushing impact to head and trunk.

A forensic toxicology was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Carbon monoxide and cyanide were not screened for due to lack of a suitable specimen. A volatiles analysis showed 27.00 mg/dl of ethanol in the blood, 21.00 mg/dl of ethanol in the spleen fluid, 3.00 mg/dl acetalhyde in the spleen fluid, 11.00 mg/dl acetalhyde in the blood, and 4.00 mg/dl of methanol in the blood. According to the manager of the laboratory, the ethanol/methanol detected was most probably from postmortem alcohol production.

The aircraft was released at the scene to William G. Bertles, an insurance adjuster, on June 6, 1994.

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