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N2546S accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Orleans, IN
38.653943°N, 86.449156°W

Tail number N2546S
Accident date 05 Mar 1998
Aircraft type Cessna T210L
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 5, 1998, at approximately 0830 eastern standard time (est), a Cessna T210L, N2546S, departed Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport, Indianapolis, Indiana, with the intended destination of French Lick, Indiana. The airplane went missing and was discovered on March 6, 1998, at approximately 1200 est. The wreckage was located 12 miles northwest of the intended destination, near Orleans, Indiana. The accident is presumed to have occurred at approximately 0857 est, on March 5, 1998. The airplane was destroyed on impact with trees. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. Weather in the area was reported as instrument meteorological conditions.

The pilot's wife stated he departed his house around 0730 est, on March 5th. The pilot was flying to French Lick to pick up two passengers. He was then going to continue the flight to North Carolina. One of the passengers reported the pilot was supposed to pick them up at 1000 est. She stated she spoke to the pilot around 0800 on the morning of the accident and he stated that he would be leaving shortly. The pilot did not arrive at his destination.


The pilot was born September 9, 1938. He was the holder of a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating which was issued on December 13, 1972. A review of the pilot's last logbook revealed his most recent biennial flight review was on April 21, 1996. He had accumulated a total of about 450 hours of flight time.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot's last valid medical examination was on March 25, 1980. He was issued a third class medical certificate with no limitations. Another third class medical certificate was located which was dated March 25, 1996. The examiner listed on this medical certificate gave up his medical examiner privileges on June 24, 1985. Documents located indicated the pilot had applied for disability benefits due to poor vision.


N2546S was a Cessna T210L, serial number 21061325. According to the engine and airframe logbooks, the last annual inspection was performed on May 21, 1997. At the time of the inspection the airplane and engine had a total time in service of 1,549 hours. The engine had 261 hours since its last overhaul at the time of the annual inspection. The last known refueling of the airplane occurred on January 26, 1998. The airplane received 53.9 gallons of fuel at this time. A representative of the fixed base operator at the pilot's home airport stated that she didn't think the airplane was flown during the month of February.


A pilot who was at the French Lick Municipal Airport at 0920 on the day of the accident stated that there was "heavy fog" and frost in the area. He stated he was informed that the airplane was due into the airport around 1000 est. He reported that it "...would have been impossible for a landing at that time." He estimated the local weather was a ceiling of 100 feet with visibility of 1/8 of a mile.

A police officer stated that he drove to Bloomington, Indiana, on the morning of the accident. He stated that he encountered fog until past Bedford, Indiana, which is approximately 15 miles north of the accident site.

The closest weather reporting facility was Bloomington, Indiana, which is located approximately 40 statue miles north-northeast of the accident site. The weather reported at Bloomington at 0850 est on the day of the accident was a few clouds at 2,500 feet, visibility 7 miles, wind from 040 degrees at 4 knots, temperature 32 degrees F, and altimeter 30.11.


The NTSB on-scene investigation began at 0800 on March 7, 1998. The wreckage was located in a wooded area near the crest of a hill. The location was approximately .5 miles west and .5 mile north of Orleans, Indiana.

The wreckage path was approximately 500 to 600 feet long on a heading of approximately 244 degrees. The airplane initially contacted 25 to 30 foot tall trees. The outboard section of the right wing was located approximately 80 feet from the initial tree impact. Both wings continued to separate from the fuselage as the airplane continued to contact trees along the wreckage path. The left wingtip was located 200 feet from the initial tree impact. The airplane's path through the trees indicated it was descending at an approximate 30 degree angle. The airplane impacted the terrain approximately 300 feet after the initial impact with the trees. The engine and fuselage section came to rest approximately 100 feet from the initial ground impact point.

The airplane was subjected to a post impact fire. The main section of fuselage came to rest on its left side. The engine, instrument panel, and forward door posts were folded underneath the main fuselage area. Both entry doors and the baggage door were separated from the airplane as was the upper section of the cockpit. The lower portion of the vertical stabilizer remained attached to the fuselage as did the left half of the horizontal stabilizer. Control cables were traced from the fuselage aft to the elevator and rudder areas although the surfaces were not present.

The engine was wedged into the terrain under the fuselage area. The engine had sustained impact damage. Both magnetos were separated from the engine. One magneto was broken into pieces. The other one sparked when turned by hand. The engine turned freely when rotated by hand and thumb compression was noted on all cylinders. The fuel pump turned freely. Fuel was present in the pump and the fuel lines on the engine. The propeller had separated from the engine and was located approximately 60 feet prior to the main wreckage and engine. All three propeller blades were loose in their hubs. One of the propeller blades contained chordwise scratches. The blade was bowed forward then backward. The tip of this blade was curled back and a piece of the blade tip was broken off. The second blade was fairly straight with some polishing on the leading edge of the blade. The third blade was bowed forward then rearward. The tip of this blade was bent forward and the face of the blade was polished.


A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted on March 6, 1998, at the McAdams Mortuary, Paoli, Indiana.

The pilot's toxicological analysis was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological examination of the specimens taken revealed: .193 ug/ml Diazepam was detected in blood

.212 ug/ml Nordiazepam was detected in the blood

1.2 ug/ml Acetaminophen was detected in blood

Temazepam was detected in blood Buspirone was detected in blood Oxymetazoline was detected in blood Nordiazepam was detected in urine Temazepam was detected in urine Oxazepam was detected in urine Buspirone was detected in urine Oxymetazoline was detected in urine 125.2 ug/ml Acetaminophen was detected in urine

Diazepam is a prescription tranquilizer commonly used to treat anxiety or muscle spasms. Nordiazepam, temazepam, and oxazepam are metabolites of diazepam. Buspirone is a prescription tranquilizer used to treat anxiety. Oxymetazoline is a common ingredient used in over-the-counter nasal decongestants and eye drops. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer. Broken prescription bottles and a pill container were located in the wreckage along with numerous pills. According the Federal Aviation Administration Great Lakes Region Medical Division, pilots are prohibited from operating aircraft while taking Diazepam and/or Buspirone.


Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors.

The wreckage was released to the owner's wife at the conclusion of the on-scene investigation.

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