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N2898R accident description

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Crash location 39.059722°N, 104.636389°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 Elbert, CO
39.219434°N, 104.537192°W
12.2 miles away
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Tail number N2898R
Accident date 24 Jan 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 182K
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 24, 2001, at 1800 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182K, N2898R, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain during an encounter with weather while descending near Elbert, Colorado. The airplane was owned by a private individual and operated by the pilot. The instrument rated private pilot and the non-instrument rated private pilot sustained fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The night cross-country flight originated at 1729 from the Tri-County Airport, Erie, Colorado, and was destined for the Meadow Lake Airport, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to friends/family of the pilots, the airplane was based at the Meadow Lake Airport. Approximately 1500, on the day of the accident, the airplane departed Colorado Springs, flew to Boulder, Colorado, and then to Erie. No record was found of the pilot receiving a pre-flight weather briefing from a flight service station.

According to radar data, at 1729:09, the airplane departed from Erie and its transponder was sending a 1200 (VFR) code. There was no record found of the flight contacting air traffic control, nor was it required to do so. The airplane climbed to 9,200 feet and flew a heading in the direction of the Meadow Lake Airport. At 1756:53, the airplane initiated a 250 foot per minute rate of descent. At 1800:55, the final radar image was received 11 miles north of the Meadow Lake Airport, at 8,200 feet msl (500 feet agl). Prior to the last radar return, the airplane had been in a constant rate of descent. The accident site was located approximately 3 miles south of the last radar image, and 8 miles north-northwest of the destination airport.

A witness, who lives near the accident site, reported that at the time of the accident, dense fog conditions were occurring. He stated that the visibility was less than 50 yards.

At 2031, an emergency locator transmitter signal was received by another aircraft. A search was conducted and the aircraft was found on January 25, 2001, approximately 0615.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, who was seated in the left seat, was issued a private pilot certificate (single-engine land) on May 31, 1998, and an instrument rating on November 17, 2000. According to the pilot's flight logbook, he had accumulated a total of 277.0 hours, of which 31.8 hours were at night, 2.9 hours were in actual instrument conditions, and 30.4 hours were under simulated instrument conditions. The logbook revealed that during the three months prior to the accident, the pilot had accumulated a total of 0.4 hours of flight in actual instrument conditions and 11.7 hours under simulated instrument conditions. Additionally, the pilot's most recent third class medical certificate was dated March 11, 1998, and it did not contain limitations or waivers.

The pilot, who was seated in the right seat, was issued a private pilot certificate on March 26, 1987. He held airplane single and multi-engine land ratings; however, he did not possess an instrument rating. According to the pilot's flight logbook, he had accumulated a total of 952.1 hours, of which 570.0 were in single-engine airplanes, 145.0 hours were at night, 2.7 hours were in actual instrument conditions, and 88.8 hours were under simulated instrument conditions. The logbook revealed that during the month prior to the accident, the pilot had accumulated 1.0 hour of flight time in actual instrument conditions and 18.7 hours under simulated instrument conditions, of which 7.7 hours were during the 11 days prior to the accident. Additionally, the pilot's most recent third class medical certificate was issued on June 12, 2000.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1967-model airplane was equipped with a 230-horsepower O-470-R engine and a two bladed, constant speed, McCauley propeller. The airframe and engine underwent their most recent annual inspections on May 25, 2001, and had accumulated a total of 2,928.0 and 182.8 hours, respectively. The transponder, altimeter, and static system checks were last performed on August 7, 1998.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1653, the weather observation facility at the Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, (located 25 miles southeast of the departure airport) reported the following weather conditions: a broken cloud layer at 22,000 feet, visibility 10 miles, wind from 130 degrees at 8 knots, temperature 36 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.

At 1731, the weather observation facility at the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado, (located 16 miles south of the accident site) reported the following conditions: broken cloud layers at 2,800 feet and 5,500 feet, visibility 10 miles, wind from 170 degrees at 11 knots, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.31 inches of Mercury.

At 1806, the following weather conditions were reported at COS: a few clouds at 300 feet, scattered clouds at 1,300 feet, visibility 3 miles in fog, wind from 160 degrees at 12 knots, temperature 27 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.30 inches of Mercury.

At 1854, the following weather conditions were reported at COS: broken cloud layers at 200 feet and 1,300 feet, temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and a dew point of 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, sunset and the end of civil twilight, for Colorado Springs, occurred at 1712 and 1741, respectively.

WRECAKGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane initially contacted an area of densely populated trees that were between 30 and 40 feet above ground level, in the Black Forest. The accident site location was recorded by a global positioning system (GPS) receiver at north 039 degrees 03.35 minutes latitude and west 104 degrees 38.11 minutes longitude, and at an elevation approximately 7,700 feet msl. The linear energy path measured 489 feet from the initial tree contact to the final aircraft component, and the path was oriented along a 080 degree magnetic heading. The main wreckage, which was comprised of the cockpit, cabin, fuselage, and empennage came to rest partially inverted against a tree, 320 feet from the initial tree impact point. The left wing separated from the airframe and was found along the energy path, prior to the main wreckage. The propeller assembly was separated from the engine and found 20 feet prior to the main wreckage. The right wing was separated from the airframe; however, it remained attached to the airframe by control cables. The engine, which was the final component along the energy path, was found 169 feet beyond the main wreckage.

The airplane's flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control continuity was established for the elevator, elevator trim, rudder and aileron systems. The control cable separations observed exhibited fraying and diagonal strand fractures, which are signatures typical of tension overload. The elevator trim tab actuator was separated from the airframe, and therefore, a setting could not be determined. The flap actuator was observed in the retracted position.

The right wing bladder fuel tank was ruptured; however, it contained several gallons of blue fuel. Portions of the left wing bladder fuel tank were observed along the energy path. Furthermore, the smell of fuel was evident throughout the accident site.

The propeller assembly was separated from the engine at the propeller flange. The separated surface exhibited 45 degree shear lips. Both propeller blades displayed "S" type bending, torsional twisting, and leading edge gouges.

The engine's case was intact, but damaged by the impact. The carburetor, oil cooler, starter, right magneto and propeller govoner were separated from the engine. The crankshaft was rotated and continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the alternator drive pulley. Thumb compression was obtained on each cylinder except the #6 cylinder, which displayed impact damage. The left magneto was opened and was observed to produce a spark at each lead when the crankshaft was turned. The right magneto, which had separated from the engine and sustained impact damage, would not produce a spark when its drive shaft was rotated by hand.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on both pilots by the El Paso County Coroner of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The cause of death for both individuals was determined to be blunt force trauma injuries from the airplane accident. Toxicological tests were performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests for both pilots were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was released to the registered owner on March 22, 2002.

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