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N3674C accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Princeton, KY
37.109216°N, 87.881959°W

Tail number N3674C
Accident date 16 Aug 2000
Aircraft type Cessna 182RG
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On August 16, 2000, at 1741 Central Daylight Time, a Cessna 182RG, N3674C, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after taking off from Princeton-Caldwell County Airport (2M0), Princeton, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and two other passengers were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed for the local flight, which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a police officer, one of the surviving passengers stated that the occupants were all from the same company, and were in town for a building restoration project. Due to a lull in the work schedule, they decided to take a tour of the area. After takeoff, the airplane was "too low," and could not clear a tree line. It "hit some trees, this caused the wing to tip down, and they again hit some trees and the plane crashed."

In a recorded interview with a third party, the other surviving passenger stated that on the day of the accident, after the group had finished its work for the day, the pilot suggested they "fly around the lake." The group then went to the airport, and the pilot conducted a preflight inspection of the airplane, including the fuel system. At that point, "everything seemed to be a 'go' and...we started out." The airplane was then taxied to the end of the runway, and began its takeoff roll, which took "three quarter or better" of the 3,000-foot runway. After takeoff, it "seemed like...we just didn't have enough power or something." The passenger thought that the airplane was "just going to barely miss [some] trees...but...instead of barely missing [them], we actually hit the trees and things started going haywire from there." The passenger also noted that the airplane had impacted the trees with its landing gear, and then, it had " the left." In addition, during the takeoff, the engine had "sounded wide open," and never sputtered or backfired.

The accident occurred during daylight hours, at 37 degrees, 06.6 minutes north latitude, 87 degrees, 51.9 degrees west longitude.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate, and was rated in single engine land airplanes. His latest Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was dated February 5, 1998. As of his latest logbook entry, on June 28, 2000, he had recorded 501 hours of flight time, with approximately 270 hours in the accident airplane.


Princeton Airport Runway 22 was 3,000 feet in length, and 75 feet in width. The airport elevation was 582 feet above mean sea level. Beyond the departure end of the runway, there was rising terrain, which crested an estimated 30 feet above the runway, approximately 950 feet beyond it.

A narrow forest of deciduous trees, which ran perpendicular to the runway, covered the crested terrain. The width of the forest was about 100 feet. Beyond the forest, the landscape opened up, into an area of homes and scattered trees.

The airport did not have refueling services.


Initial tree strikes were found at the beginning of the forested area, about 900 feet from the end of Runway 22, and an estimated 80 to 100 feet above the airport's elevation. Strike evidence consisted of small branches and leaves separated from the top of an oak tree. About 130 feet beyond that, and downhill from the crest, there was strike damage to a hickory tree, also consisting of small branches and leaves separated from the top area of the tree. About 100 feet further down the hill, there were a series of transmission wires, about 30 feet above the ground, and 20 feet below the tops of the trees, which were not damaged. The wreckage site was approximately 30 feet beyond the transmission wires. The approximate magnetic bearing from the runway, through the tree strikes, and to the impact site, was 240 degrees.

The wreckage site was located within in a small, fenced-in garden, between a private residence and some apple trees, next to a road. Surrounding the garden, was a fence, consisting of wire mesh in some areas and wrought iron in others. The airplane was just inside the confines of the fence, which was undamaged, except for where one side was entwined in a propeller blade.

All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident scene. The tail of the airplane was intact, and bent toward the airplane's right side. The right wing was folded over on itself in the area where the strut was attached. There was a semi-circular indentation in the right wing's leading edge where the wing folded over, similar in appearance to a tree strike. However, no corroborating evidence could be found on any trees, and there was no organic material in the indentation.

The left wing was impaled on one of the wrought iron fence posts, about 2 feet inboard of the strut attachment point. The post was bent toward the aft part of the wing. The left aileron was cut into by another fence post, from the aileron's trailing edge, forward, about 4 inches.

The cabin and cockpit area were destroyed. Control cable continuity was established to all control surfaces, although the right wing aileron cable exhibited frayed wires at both ends of a break.

The nose of the propeller spinner was flattened at an angle of approximately 60 degrees relative to the longitudinal axis of the airplane. One of the propeller blades was undamaged, while the one that was entwined with the fence exhibited leading edge damage, chordwise scratching, and torsional "s-bending."

Engine drive train continuity was confirmed, as was compression on all cylinders. The magnetos produced spark on all leads, and the upper spark plugs ranged in color from gray to black. The exhaust stack on right side was bent and folded.

The landing gear was down, and the flap actuator screw measured 2.6 inches, which equated to about 20 degrees of flap deployment.

Several gallons of fuel were found in the right wing tanks. The left wing tanks did not contain fuel, but were ruptured, and exhibited fire damage. The amount of fuel onboard at the time of the accident could not be confirmed.


Weather, recorded at an airport about 30 nautical miles to the southeast, 14 minutes after the accident, included winds from 320 degrees true, at 6 knots, a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and a dewpoint of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The density altitude was approximately 2,500 feet.


According to maintenance records, the airplane's latest annual inspection was completed on October 3, 1999, and the engine was overhauled in August 1998. As of August 10, 2000, the last date that maintenance was performed on the airplane, the engine had 252 hours of operation since overhaul, and the airplane had 3,652 total hours of operation.


On August 17, 2000, an autopsy was performed on the pilot's remains by the Kentucky State Medical Examiners Office, Madisonville, Kentucky. Toxicological testing was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


The last known refueling of the airplane occurred in Frankfort, Kentucky, prior to a flight to Louisville, Kentucky, a return to Frankfort, and the flight to Princeton. The flight from Frankfort to Princeton should have used 10 to 12 gallons of fuel, depending on the power setting used and the altitude flown.

The passenger weights, according to coroner and licensing records, totaled about 870 pounds, and no additional baggage, other than flight materials, was found in the wreckage.

A short field takeoff distance was derived using data from the Cessna Model R182 Information Manual. Conditions assumed, included flaps 20 degrees, 2,400 rpm and full throttle prior to brake release, cowl flaps open, a paved, level, and a dry runway. Since actual weights could not be calculated, a maximum gross weight of 3,100 pounds was used.

According to the manual's performance charts, and interpolating the data, the airplane should have had a takeoff roll of about 985 feet, and the total distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle should have been approximately 1,900 feet.

The manual also noted that "conservative distances" could be established by reading the chart at the next higher value of weight, altitude and temperature.

Using the next higher values, the takeoff roll would have been 1,065 feet, and the total distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle would have been 2,060 feet.


According to the Cessna 182RG flight information manual, a normal takeoff should have been made with flaps at 0 to 20 degrees. At 20 degrees, the climb speed should have been 70 knots. After becoming airborne, the brakes should have been applied momentarily, then the landing gear retracted, and then the wing flaps retracted.

In the section titled "Amplified Procedures," the manual stated:

"Using 20 degrees wing flaps reduces the ground run and total distance over an obstacle by approximately 20 percent."

In addition:

"If 20 degrees wing flaps are used for takeoff, they should be left down until all obstacles are cleared and a safe flap retraction speed of 70 KIAS is reached. To clear an obstacle with wing flaps 20 degrees, an obstacle clearance speed of 55 KIAS should be used."


"Landing gear retraction normally is started after reaching the point over the runway where a wheels-down, forced landing on that runway would become impractical."

However, under "Short Field Takeoff" procedures, the manual stated:

"Landing Gear - RETRACT after obstacles are cleared."

On August 17, 2000, the wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company.

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