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N85DK accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Jerome, AZ
34.748911°N, 112.113772°W

Tail number N85DK
Accident date 18 Apr 1995
Aircraft type Cessna 182P
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On April 18, 1995, about 1015 hours mountain standard time (mst), a Cessna 182P, N85DK, owned and operated by the pilot, collided with mountainous terrain about 2 miles west of Jerome, Arizona. The airplane was destroyed, and the private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The crash site was located on April 28, 1995.

Information was obtained from the Civil Air Patrol, the Department of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and from a review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded radar data for April 18, 1995. About 0726 mst, the flight originated with full fuel tanks from the Coronado (uncontrolled) Airport, New Mexico. (All times used in this report have been converted to mst.)

The radar track indicates that the airplane proceeded on the nonstop flight along a westerly course until passing Winslow, Arizona. The airplane then flew along a west-southwesterly course passing south of Flagstaff and nearly over the Sedona Airport. The course between the Winslow (Flagstaff) and the Drake VORTACs (radio navigational aids) nearly paralleled federal airway V12, and was within approximately 1.5 miles of the airway's centerline.

During the flight, at 0926, the airplane's transponder indicated that the airplane was at 10,800 feet. Twenty minutes later, at 0946, the airplane was at 14,000 feet. At 1004, the airplane was at 11,600 feet and was descending. During the last 2 minutes of the recorded flight, the airplane descended from about 8,700 feet (at 1012:35) to 7,900 feet (at 1014:36). During this time interval, the airplane proceeded from about 34 degrees, 47 minutes, 16 seconds north latitude by 112 degrees, 03 minutes, 13 seconds west longitude, to its final recorded position of 34 degrees, 46 minutes, 03 seconds north latitude by 112 degrees 08 minutes, 01 seconds west longitude.

The crash site was located about 1.0 nautical mile (nm) southwest (227 degrees magnetic) of the airplane's last recorded radar position. The crash site elevation was estimated between 7,500 and 7,700 feet mean sea level (msl).


In May of 1992, the pilot was issued a Private Pilot Certificate with airplane single engine land privileges. At that time, he had logged a total of approximately 124 hours. Thereafter, the pilot began flying the accident airplane. By the accident date, the pilot had logged a total of about 445 hours, of which about 319 hours were flown in the accident airplane.

The pilot's log book indicated that his total logged instrument flight time was 0.3 hours in instrument conditions, and 4.3 hours in simulated (hooded) conditions. The pilot was not rated to fly in instrument meteorological conditions.


The nearest aviation weather observation stations to the accident site were in Flagstaff and Prescott, Arizona. The Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, elevation 7,011 feet msl, was located about 33 nm northeast of the crash site. The Ernest A. Love Field, in Prescott, elevation 5,042 feet msl, was located about 14 nm southwest of the crash site.

At 1015, Flagstaff reported its weather, in pertinent part, as follows: measured overcast ceiling at 500 feet above ground level (agl); visibility 2 miles, light snow and fog; wind from 200 degrees at 12 knots; temperature 31 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 30 degrees Fahrenheit; and the altimeter 29.73 inHg. The base of the ceiling was variable between 300 and 900 feet agl.

At 1054, Prescott reported its weather, in pertinent part, as follows: scattered clouds at 800 feet agl, estimated overcast ceiling at 2,000 feet agl; visibility 10 miles; temperature 40 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 30 degrees Fahrenheit; wind from 140 degrees at 18 knots; and the altimeter 29.86 inHg.

Approximately 2 nm east and 7 nm west of the crash site, the elevation of the terrain was around 5,000 feet msl.


The FAA reported that its search of recorded communications did not reveal evidence that any air-to-ground communications or services had been provided to the accident pilot.


The responding sheriff, search and rescue, and recovery personnel reported that the airplane appeared to have flown into upsloping terrain on the eastern side of a mountain which had a maximum msl elevation of 7,860 feet. The collision occurred while the airplane was proceeding in a westerly direction.

Evidence of severed tree limbs was observed over approximately a 100-foot-long path at the crash site to the east of the site. Fragmented airframe components and luggage was located to the west of the main wreckage. The airplane was found in an upright attitude, pointing in a westerly direction.

The 52nd edition of the Phoenix Sectional Aeronautical Chart was found in the wreckage. The chart was dated November 10, 1994. The chart was observed damaged and soiled. A highlighted line was observed marked on the chart along the route of flight between, in pertinent part, Winslow and Prescott. Specifically, the line was observed drawn over federal airway V12 between the Winslow and Drake VORTACs. The line passed about 1 mile north of the crash site.

Airframe Examination.

The airplane was recovered from the accident site and was examined. The continuity of the flight control system was confirmed. The leading edges of both wings were observed crushed in an aft direction from the wing tips to wing roots. The engine was found with the instrument panel and was observed deformed in a downward direction beneath the airframe structure. The wing flaps were found fully retracted, as evidenced by measurements of the actuating jack screw. There was no evidence of fire.

Propeller and Engine Examination.

The propeller was found torsionally twisted and its cambered surface was scratched in a chordwise direction with its leading edge gouged to a maximum depth of about 1/4-inch. Also, the propeller was found bent into an "S" shape.

Under the direction and observation of the National Transportation Safety Board, the Teledyne Continental Motors participant examined the engine and accessories. In summary, the crankshaft was turned through 360 degrees of rotation. Continuity was confirmed throughout the gear and valve train. Oil was observed in the engine, and no foreign material was found in the oil pump or filter. Spark was observed from all leads attached to the left magneto when it was rotated. The gascolator fuel screen and bowl were devoid of foreign material.

The vacuum pump's drive gear coupling was found intact. Circumferential score marks were observed on the attitude indicator's gyro. The score marks corresponded to similar marks on the inside of rotor housing.


On May 2, 1995, an autopsy was performed by the Medical Examiner's Office in Yavapai County, Arizona. Results of the FAA's toxicology tests on the pilot were negative for ethanol and all screened drugs.


Acquaintances of the pilot reported to the Safety Board that several days before the accident the pilot and passengers had departed from the Simi Valley, California, area for a cross-country flight to the Midwest. The passengers included the pilot's wife, son, and a friend. The accident occurred during the return flight home. The son and friend were seniors in high school.

The entire airplane wreckage was released to the administrator of the pilot's estate on October 19, 1995. No parts or records were retained.

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