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N9298X accident description

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Crash location 38.766667°N, 108.000000°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 Austin, CO
38.781095°N, 107.950898°W
2.8 miles away

Tail number N9298X
Accident date 23 Feb 2006
Aircraft type Cessna 182E
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On February 23, 2006, approximately 1059 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182E, N9298X, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it struck power lines and subsequently impacted terrain 8 miles south-southeast of Austin, Colorado. An explosion and post-impact fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted without a flight plan under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot and 2 passengers on board the airplane sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated at Telluride, Colorado, approximately 0900 and was en route to a private air strip.

According to the pilot's brother, the pilot was flying to an airstrip located near the Gunnison River Farm, the accident location, to do work there. The pilot owned a construction company and was, at the time, working to install a hydro-electric generator at the farm. The two passengers on board the airplane were believed to be employees of the pilot's company. His brother said that the pilot had flown into the nearby airstrip before and had landed at the airstrip to visit the farm only a few days before the accident.

A witness who worked at the farm to which the power lines ran, said he "heard the airplane buzz the ranch." The witness said the airplane then flew into the power lines. After striking the lines there was extensive damage to the airplane. Another witness who managed the ranch said he saw and heard the airplane "buzz the ranch." He said the airplane came in once and was closer to the river (Gunnison River). The airplane came over the ranch a second time, but was closer to the house and orchard where the power lines ran. The witness heard the impact and then saw the airplane "cartwheeling" in the field. Other witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site saw flying metal and the fireball from the explosion.


The 40-year old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land, multi-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane privileges. The pilot also held a flight instructor certificate for single-engine land airplane privileges.

The pilot held a second class medical certificate dated October, 2004. The certificate showed no waivers or limitations.

An examination of the pilot's logbook showed him having 1,556.8 total flying hours, 1,540.1 hours of which were in single-engine airplanes. The logbook also showed that within the 90 days prior to the accident, the pilot logged 18.2 total flying hours, 16.4 hours of which were in the accident airplane. The logbook also showed that within the 30 days prior to the accident, the pilot logged 11.8 hours in the accident airplane.


The airplane was a 1961 Cessna 182E, serial number 18253698. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot and was used for business and pleasure. The airplane's registration was dated September 19, 2005.

The airplane had undergone an annual inspection on March 10, 2005. The total airframe time at the annual inspection was 4,402.07 hours. The tachometer time at the annual inspection was 5,446.07 hours. The airplane's O-470-R engine, serial number 132466-6-R, was installed new on May 28, 2002. Total previous recorded tachometer time at the installation was 3,590.2 hours. The last engine logbook entry was made on September 16, 2005, when the engine oil and filter were changed. The tachometer time at the last entry was recorded as 5,499.63 hours.


At 1153, the Aviation Routine Weather Report at Montrose, Colorado, 167-degrees at 11.5 miles from the accident site, was clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 37 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 12 degrees F, winds calm, and an altimeter setting of 30.26 inches.


The NTSB on scene investigation began on February 24, 2006, at 0840.

The accident site was located on a ranch bordered by the Gunnison river on the west and south sides. The accident site encompassed part of a peach tree orchard, an alfalfa field, and a riverbank. Terrain surrounding the vicinity of the river and the ranch encompasses bluffs that rise steeply with tops that average 500 to 1,500 feet higher than the river surface.

The accident site began with downed power and telephone transmission lines located 129 feet due east (090-degrees) of the entry road than went to a ranch house and workshop. The lines were draped north to south across peach trees in the orchard. To the north of the orchard was a 33-foot long transmission pole resting in an irrigation ditch. The pole was broken off at the base and was originally situated on the top of a 550-foot bluff that overlooked the ranch. The power and telephone lines remained attached to the pole.

Approximately 186 feet due east of the road was a 4-foot long section of the airplane's right outboard wing. The wing section was resting upside-down on the ground amongst peach trees. The wing was torn aft beginning at the leading edge and angling outboard at approximately 37 degrees until reaching the center aileron hinge. The wing tip was missing, but showed evidence that it had been torn aft longitudinally along the cap rivet lines. A 6 to 7-inch piece of broken clear Plexiglas rested just north of the wing section. Small pieces of wing skin were found just south of the wing section.

Approximately 525 feet east of the road was a 4-foot long piece of right wing section with part of the right aileron attached. The wing section rested in an alfalfa field east of peach tree orchard. The wing piece and the aileron were crushed and torn aft and bent upward.

Approximately 654 feet from the road was a 28-foot long 14-inch wide scrape in the field that ran along a 110-degree magnetic heading. Numerous small pieces of blue and white paint chips and larger pieces of clear Plexiglas were found resting in and along the scrape. The scrape widened and deepened into a 5-foot wide, 20-foot long, and 23-inch deep crater that contained pieces of wing skin, broken pieces of the left wing tip, pieces of clear Plexiglas, and the airplane's propeller and spinner. Just where the scrape began to widen and become the crater, three gashes in the ground, consistent with propeller strikes were observed. The strikes were 20 inches apart and were perpendicular to the 092-degree magnetic heading the airplane wreckage predominately was on. The propeller was buried in the crater. On removal, both propeller blades showed chordwise scratches and torsional bending. One blade was bent 43-degrees aft beginning 8 inches outboard of the propeller hub. The propeller was broken torsionally at the crankshaft neck, just aft of the flange. The spinner was crushed aft and twisted counter-clockwise about the propeller cylinder and hub.

A debris field fanned eastward in a 40-degree cone from the east edge of the ground scar for approximately 198 feet to the main wreckage. Within the debris field were pieces of the instrument panel, pieces of clear Plexiglas, pieces of cabin interior and insulation, a comm-nav radio, personal effects, charts and manuals, pieces of the cabin seats, a piece of the left aileron, the left cabin door, pieces of strut fairings, navigation instruments, pieces of fuel and oil lines, and the engine muffler.

The airplane main wreckage was located approximately 906 feet from the road. Preceding the main wreckage was a 51 foot long, 75 foot wide, triangular-shaped burn area in the field. Within the burn area was a 5-foot long piece of the airplane's left wing that contained the landing and taxi lights. The piece was torn laterally at mid-chord, and was charred. Also within the burn area was the engine cowling and part of the forward fuselage. The cowling and fuselage were crushed and twisted aft, charred and partially melted.

Just preceding the main wreckage was a north to south running irrigation pipe. The pipe was melted apart where the airplane's fuselage had struck it. The airplane main wreckage rested just east of the pipe on top of the west bank of a tributary to the Gunnison River. The main wreckage consisted of the remains of the airplane's fuselage from the firewall aft to include the cabin area, baggage compartment, aft fuselage, and empennage. The main wreckage also consisted of the landing gear, the engine, and parts of the airplane's left wing.

The fuselage rested on top of a downed wire fence and was oriented on a 012-degree heading. The engine mounts, nose gear, and firewall were broken, twisted, charred, and melted. The nose gear tire was consumed by fire. The forward fuselage, cabin, to include interior, seats, rudder pedals, control yokes, and the baggage compartment were charred, melted and consumed by fire. Only the seat frames, main landing gear legs, control cables, and cross-tube to the rudder pedals remained. The right main tire was consumed by fire. The aft fuselage with the battery and emergency locator transmitter were charred, melted and consumed by fire. The majority of the empennage, including most of the elevator and rudder, was charred melted, and consumed by fire. The cables to the surface attach fittings remained. Just north and south of the fuselage were trees and brush that was charred by fire.

Immediately east and slightly down slope of the fuselage on the riverbank was the airplane's engine. The engine rested inverted and was charred and melted. At the shoreline of the riverbank was an 8-foot section of the airplane's left inboard wing, left flap, and left wing strut. The section was broken aft and downward, charred, and melted. Just south of the inboard wing section was a 6 to 7 foot long piece of the left outboard wing and aileron. The outboard wing piece and aileron were also broken aft, charred, and melted. Beneath the outboard wing piece was part of the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator. The stabilizer section and elevator were bent and broken aft, charred, and melted.

Just north of left inboard wing section, at the water's edge was the airplane's left main tire. The tire was intact and broken at the axle.

Flight control continuity was established from the remains of the control yokes and rudder pedals to the ailerons, elevator, and rudder attach points and horns. The airplane's engine was retained for further examination.


A burned area encompassed a 51 foot long, east to west, and 75 foot wide, north to south, triangular-shaped portion of the field which held several parts from the airplane which preceded the main wreckage. The burned area extended eastward through the irrigation pipe, a perimeter fence, through discarded brush deposited along the bank of the Gunnison river channel, and down to the water's edge. The majority of the airplane was located within the burned area. All of the airplane that was located within the burn area sustained severe fire damage to include portions as the cabin, fuselage and empennage, that were totally consumed by fire.


On February 24, 2006, the Montrose County, Colorado, Coroner conducted an examination of the pilot at Montrose, Colorado.

The results of FAA toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot showed volatile concentrations of TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL (MARIHUANA) in blood and lung. Volatile concentrations of TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL CARBOXYLIC ACID (MARIHUANA) was found in blood, lung, and urine.


The airplane's engine was examined in Mobile, Alabama, on June 13, 2006. The examination revealed no anomalies that precluded normal engine operation prior to the accident.


Parties to the investigation were the FAA Flight Standards District Office, Salt Lake City, Utah, the Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors.

The wreckage was released to the insurance company's representative.

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