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N182GV accident description

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Crash location 34.545555°N, 110.936389°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Heber, AZ
34.431426°N, 110.594014°W
21.0 miles away

Tail number N182GV
Accident date 31 Dec 2005
Aircraft type Cessna 182D
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On December 31, 2005, approximately 1930 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182D, N182GV, owned and operated by Gunnison Valley Aviation, LLC., and piloted by a private pilot, impacted terrain 21 miles northwest of Heber, Arizona. A post impact fire ensued. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured. The cross-country flight departed Durango, Colorado, at 1730, and was en route to Scottsdale (SDL), Arizona.

The accident flight was not under positive radar control and was not receiving Air Route Traffic Control Services. The airplane was reported missing by concerned family members and an ALNOT (alert notification) was issued on January 1, 2006, at 0143. Local search and rescue teams initiated air and ground searches. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office located the wreckage in the Apache Sitgreaves Forest, approximately 1600 on January 3, 2006.

According to the pilot's family, he was traveling to Arizona to visit a family member in the hospital. The family member had been admitted to the hospital 3 times over the past 8 weeks and was in intensive care. The family reported that the pilot went skiing the morning of the accident and departed Gunnison that afternoon. He made a refueling stop in Durango, Colorado, where the airplane was topped off. Family members reported that the pilot called them just south of Holbrook and stated he would be later than expected due to headwinds.


The pilot, age 41, held a private pilot certificate issued on May 22, 2005, with an airplane single engine land rating. At the time of issuance, the pilot reported 44.5 total hours, all of which had been logged in a Cessna 172. The pilot was issued a third class airman medical certificate on March 24, 2005. The medical certificate contained no limitations.

The pilot obtained flight instruction and rented the accident airplane from Gunnison Valley Aviation, Gunnison, Colorado. According to their invoices and records, the pilot had logged a total time of 86 hours; 54 hours of which were as pilot in command, 45 hours in a C182, and no less than 3 hours of night flight experience with a certified flight instructor. The pilot's personal log was not recovered.


N182GV, a Cessna 182D (serial number 18253367), was manufactured in 1961. It was equipped with a Teledyne Continental Motors O-470-R engine (with Superior Airparts cylinders) rated for 230 horsepower at 2,700 rpm. The engine was equipped with a McCauley two-bladed, controllable pitch propeller.

The airplane was registered to Gunnison Valley Aviation LLC., of Gunnison, Colorado. The airplane was maintained under a 100-hour/annual-inspection program and the maintenance records indicated that an annual inspection had been completed on December 8, 2005, at an airframe total time of 7,020.6 hours. According to the operator's records, the airplane had flown 12.1 hours between the annual inspection and December 29, 2005. The Hobbs meter and tachometer were destroyed.


The closest official weather observation station was Winslow-Lindberg Regional Airport (INW), Winslow, Arizona, which was located 35 nautical miles (nm) north of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 4,941 feet mean sea level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for INW, issued at 1956, reported, wind 160 degrees at 8 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature 09 degrees Celsius (C); dewpoint, minus 04 degrees C; altimeter 29.83 inches.

According to the United States Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department Sun and Moon Data, the sunset was recorded at 1726 and the end of civil twilight was 1754. The moon rose at 0825 and set at 1807 on the day of the accident. The moon was waxing crescent with one percent of its visible disk illuminated.


The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) arrived on scene approximately 1400 on January 4, 2006. The accident site was located in a forested area. A global positioning system receiver reported the coordinates as 34 degrees 32.739 minutes north latitude and 110 degrees 56.187 minutes west longitude. The accident site was at an elevation of 7,050 feet msl and the airplane impacted on a heading of 220 degrees.

The initial impact point was located to the east of the main wreckage. Tree branches had been torn and broken in the direction of the main wreckage. Small paint chips were scattered 147 feet between the initial impact point and the second impact point. Portions of the right wing and right aileron were found above the ground within the branches of a Ponderosa tree. The fiberglass wing tip and a 9-foot metal section from the right wing were located below this tree.

A debris path extended from the second impact point to a third impact point. Broken tree branches, Plexiglas, and torn metal were found within the debris path. The third impact point was located 254 feet from the second impact point. A section of the left wing was located directly below the third impact point. Branches were torn and broken in the direction of flight. A ground scar extended from this point, 197 feet to the main wreckage. Plexiglas, torn metal, the left wing tip, and broken tree branches were located within the entire length of the ground scar.

The main wreckage was located 580 feet from the initial impact point and came to rest on a heading of 230 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the propeller, the inboard portion of the left wing (both located aft of the empennage), the empennage, the fuselage, the inboard portion of the right wing, and the engine assembly. The area surrounding the wreckage sustained fire damage.

The propeller separated from the engine assembly at the propeller flange and was located aft of the main wreckage. The propeller blades were arbitrarily labeled A and B for identification purposes only. Blade A exhibited S-shape bending from the tip of the blade to the propeller hub. The leading edge, face, and trailing edge of the blade were polished and the face of the blade exhibited 90-degree cordwise scratches at the propeller hub. Blade B exhibited twisting from the blade tip to the blade hub as well as 45 and 90-degree chord wise scratching along the face of the blade. The propeller spinner displayed rotational crushing.

The cabin area, starting at the firewall and extending aft to the empennage, was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. The instrument panel, engine control panel, and flight controls were destroyed by fire. The windscreen was fragmented and located within the debris field.

A portion of the right aileron and a 9-foot section of the right wing leading edge of were located at the second impact point. The aileron remained within the tree branches and exhibited aft accordion type crushing. The remaining portion of the right wing and aileron, to include the right wing flap, were located with the main wreckage. This portion (two pieces) was respectively 56 inches and 48 inches in length and the leading edge of both pieces was crushed and torn aft. The wing flap was wrinkled and the entire assembly exhibited thermal damage. Control continuity to the right aileron and wing flap was established.

A 7.5-foot section of the left wing was located at the third impact point. The entire span of the leading edge exhibited aft crushing and the aileron was wrinkled. The aileron control cable remained attached and was routed around the bell crank. The remaining portion of the left wing, to include the left wing flap, was located just aft of the main wreckage, next to the propeller assembly. This portion exhibited aft crushing along the leading edge and torn metal. Control continuity to the aileron and flap was established.

The empennage, to include the horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevator, remained attached to the fuselage. The outboard 26 inches of the horizontal stabilizer was crushed aft and torn along the rivet line. The outboard 14 inches of the elevator on the left wide was crushed up 180 degrees and torn. The rudder and vertical stabilizer exhibited wrinkled skin, leading edge crushing, and thermal damage on the left side. The right horizontal stabilizer exhibited a circular crush 14 inches deep and 24 inches wide with tree bark embedded within the crush. The right side of the elevator was slightly wrinkled. Control continuity was established to the rudder and elevator.

The engine separated from the firewall and came to rest inverted, two feet forward of the main wreckage. The cowling was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire and the engine exhibited thermal damage. The left magneto separated partially from the engine. Both magnetos exhibited extensive thermal damage, and would not produce a spark. Further examination of both magnetos revealed no anomalies. The top spark plugs were removed and appeared new with normal wear signatures. The engine was rotated through at the accessory case and valve movement was noted. Compression was tactically noted at each spark plug hole. The starter separated from the engine.


An autopsy was performed by the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office, in Flagstaff, Arizona, on January 4, 2006, as authorized by the Coconino County Coroner's Office. The autopsy revealed the cause of death as "multiple blunt force injuries."

A toxicology was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and all tested drugs.


Parties to the investigation included the Federal Aviation Administration, as represented by an airworthiness inspector from the Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors. The wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company on March 27, 2006.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.