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N3499R accident description

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Crash location 33.733330°N, 85.766670°W
Nearest city Ft. Mcclellan, AL
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Tail number N3499R
Accident date 03 Oct 1994
Aircraft type Cessna 182L
Additional details: White/Red/Black

NTSB description


On October 3, 1994, about 1510 central daylight time (CDT), a Cessna 182L, N3499R, collided with mountainous terrain at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The commercial pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the Winterset Flying Club, Winterset, Iowa. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight from Cairo, Illinois, to La Grange, Georgia. The flight departed from Cairo about 1215.

The flight originated in Winterset, Iowa, about 0900 on the morning of the accident. The aircraft stopped for fuel in Cairo, and the airport manager reported that the pilot purchased 42 gallons of fuel, and a quart of engine oil. He also reported that the pilot did not make any telephone calls while at the airport.

At 1416:00 (CDT), N3499R contacted Huntsville, Alabama Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) and stated "Uh I'm about uh twenty-eight miles uh northwest uh gonna fly through your territory." The Huntsville West Radar controller issued N3499R a transponder code of 0111. At 1416:53, N3499R reported at 4,500 feet, with a destination of LaGrange, Georgia. From 1422:06 until 1429:32, the Huntsville West Radar controller unsuccessfully attempted radio contact with N3499R. At 1429:32, the controller instructed N3499R to "ident", and at 1429:36, N3499R responded "Uh three four nine nine Romeo". At 1429:42, the West controller stated "...I've been trying to call you for about twenty miles sir climb maintain five thousand restricted area's active just south your position at five thousand". At 1429:51, N3499R reported "Uh nine nine Romeo uh I had to fly through clouds". N3499R was then issued vectors around restricted airspace (R2104). At 1430:16, the Huntsville West controller stated "November three four nine nine Romeo what altitude you gonna stay at sir I've seen you at up to fifty-five and down to about four let me know what you're gonna be at". At 1430:22, N3499R responded "Nine nine Romeo I'd like to go to uh fifty-five but I'm running into clouds up here I'd probably better drop down uh, uh to thirty-five cause I'm in and out of the clouds." At 1430:53, N3499R was instructed to contact approach (East Radar position). At 1431:21, N3499R contacted the East Radar controller. The East controller issued an altimeter setting of 29.87. At 1434:02, N3499R was cleared to "resume own navigation." At 1441:26, the East controller reported "Cessna niner niner Romeo radar service terminated squawk VFR frequency change approved." At 1441:28, N3499R responded "Nine nine Romeo thank you." The East controller reported that N3499R was about 25 to 30 miles southeast of the Huntsville Airport when radar service was terminated.

No eyewitnesses to the accident were located.


Information on the pilot is included in this report at the section titled "First Pilot Information." The pilot's logbooks were not located following the accident. The pilot's total time listed in this report was obtained from his latest FAA medical certificate, dated October 23, 1992.


The aircraft maintenance logbooks were located with the main wreckage, and were extensively fire damaged. Inspection and recent maintenance history was obtained from work orders. Information on the aircraft is located in the section titled "Aircraft Information."


The 1454 (CDT) surface observation for Anniston, Alabama (ANB) included the following information: Estimated ceiling 1,500 broken, 2,000 overcast, four miles visibility in light drizzle and fog. Temperature was 70 degrees, with a dewpoint of 66 degrees. The Anniston airport is located about 11 miles southwest of the accident site.

At 1520 (CDT), a special observation was issued, which reported the following: Estimated ceiling 800 broken, 1,500 broken, 2,000 overcast. Visibility four miles in light drizzle and fog. Additional weather information is located at the section of this report titled "Weather Information."

There was no evidence found that indicated the pilot received a weather briefing prior to the flights of October 3, 1994.


The aircraft wreckage was found on the Fort McClellan Army Reservation, on mountainous, wooded terrain, on the afternoon of October 6, 1994. The wreckage was oriented on a heading of 140 degrees, and the wreckage path was about 190 feet in length. The wreckage path was approximately perpendicular to the ridgeline of the Choccolocco Mountain. The elevation at the accident site was approximately 1,900 feet mean sea level (msl).

The initial impact area consisted of the tops of several trees. Multiple tree limbs and paint flakes were found on the ground, around the area of initial impact. About 50 feet forward (along the wreckage path) was a tree with right wing structure material hanging in the upper branches. A section of the right wing, with aileron attached, was found at the base of this tree. The main wreckage was located about 160 forward of the initial impact area. The main wreckage consisted of the empennage, fuselage, engine, propeller, and left wing.

The empennage was found in an inverted position. The left and right leading edges of the horizontal stabilizer were crushed in an aft direction. The right side of the elevator was in place, with the trim tab still attached. The left side of the elevator was torn in an aft direction, away from the horizontal stabilizer, with the inboard connection point remaining attached. The lower half of the vertical stabilizer was crushed aft, along the leading edge, and the entire unit was bent to the right. The lower half of the rudder remained attached. The top half of the rudder and vertical stabilizer were separated, and located about 35 feet from the empennage (toward the initial impact area). Flight control continuity was confirmed from the rudder and elevator to the cockpit area.

The left wing was found inverted, with the root against a tree trunk. The left flap and aileron remained attached to the wing structure. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the left aileron to the wing root. The wing flaps were found in the up position. There were multiple areas of aft crushing on the leading edge of the left wing. The lower skin of the outboard left wing section was fulled away from the structure.

Both fuel cells were ruptured; no evidence of residual fuel was found. The fuel tank selector valve was found in the "both tanks" position.

The engine was separated from the fuselage. The propeller was separated from the engine aft of the crankshaft flange. The propeller blades exhibited twisting toward low pitch, leading edge gouges, and "s" bending. The tips of both blades were twisted off, and missing.

The engine-driven vacuum pump was disassembled and inspected. The internal pump vanes were intact, as was the pump drive.


A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Joseph H. Embry, M.D., State Medical Examiner, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Toxicological testing was not performed due to the lack of suitable specimens.


The aircraft wreckage was released to:

Phil Powell (Owner's Representative) Carson-Brooks, Inc. P.O. Box 888525 Atlanta, Georgia 30356.

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