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N182PJ accident description

Maryland map... Maryland list
Crash location 39.574167°N, 75.869723°W
Nearest city Elkton, MD
39.606779°N, 75.833272°W
3.0 miles away
Tail number N182PJ
Accident date 21 May 2014
Aircraft type Cessna 182
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 21, 2014, at 0810 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182S, N182PJ, was substantially damaged during a runway overrun at Cecil County Airport (58M), Elkton, Maryland. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight plan had been filed for the personal flight from Penn Valley Airport (SEG), Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, to Albert Ellis Airport (OAJ), Jacksonville, North Carolina, conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's written statement, while climbing to a cruising altitude of 8,000 feet above mean sea level (msl), he encountered light turbulence and light to moderate rain for the first 30 minutes, and flew in continuous instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Shortly after crossing the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, he requested a different routing due to heavy rain showers, which was approved by air traffic control (ATC).

Once the airplane was established at 8,000 feet msl, the pilot leaned the mixture to "lean of peak," closed the cowl flaps, and adjusted the power setting for cruise flight. At this time, the airplane was flying through continuous rain showers and the outside temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, so he turned on the pitot heat. Several minutes after leveling off, he noticed that the exhaust gas temperature gauge was not functioning properly. The fuel flow indication was appropriate, and all other engine instrument gauges were reading normal. He also noted that the autopilot was unable to operate in "NAV" mode, and rocking slightly left and right in "HDG" mode. Shortly thereafter, the pilot lowered the volume on the radio panel because it was too loud in his headset. Afterwards, he noticed that the next time he spoke to ATC he could barely hear his own voice, so he increased the volume.

To avoid other traffic, ATC advised the pilot to fly a 160 degree heading. When he replied, the pilot again could not hear his own voice in his headset, but was acknowledged by ATC. Shortly thereafter, the instrument panel blinked rapidly several times and then the airplane experienced a total electrical failure. The transponder, both communications radios, the GPS, the airborne weather display, the ADF, attitude indicator, autopilot, and all electrically driven equipment "went off" and stopped functioning. The airplane was in IMC conditions and the pilot immediately focused on hand-flying the airplane on the assigned heading and altitude.

The pilot was unable to contact ATC. He did not have a handheld radio and did not have cellular phone service at 8,000 feet msl. He then turned off the pitot heat, checked the circuit breakers and tried to recycle the autopilot, transponder, and radios, but was not able to restore electrical power.

The pilot utilized an application on his iPad computer tablet to determine that the nearest airport with a paved runway was 58M, which was located approximately 8 miles northeast of his position. He diverted to 58M and was able to begin to see the ground at approximately 3,000 feet msl, with a significant scattered and haze cloud layer below, and what appeared to be a few miles visibility. One of the passengers was able to call ATC on his cellular phone to report the situation and the pilot's intentions.

The pilot identified the airport roughly 2 miles out and entered the traffic pattern. He decided to land on Runway 13, "which did not have a displaced threshold, and had a clear approach." Due to the electrical failure, the flaps could not be extended. The pilot flew an extended downwind leg of the traffic pattern and attempted a no-flap landing. He stated that knew the runway was nearly 3,000 feet long and felt confident that he could land in that distance since he had done it many times before. He did not want to risk continued flight in IMC conditions with an airplane with a complete electrical failure.

The pilot conducted an elongated shallow approach at a speed of "75 knots." Upon reaching the runway, he immediately put the main wheels aggressively on the runway, and applied full brakes. There was no reaction when he pushed on the brakes. The airplane did not skid, slip, squeal, or slide at all; it just rolled straight down the runway without decelerating. The pilot pushed the control wheel forward in an attempt to put more weight on all of the wheels. Both he and the passenger pushed hard on the brakes, but the airplane did not slow down and was at least halfway down the runway. The pilot decided not "go-around" based on the trees and power line at the end of the runway, the IMC conditions, nearly full fuel, three large adult passengers with luggage, and the uncertainty of what was wrong with the airplane.

The pilot pulled the emergency (parking) brake handle, and intentionally deviated off the left side of the runway, in an attempt to utilize an airport access road for additional stopping distance. The airplane subsequently struck a fence, and other obstacles before it came to rest approximately 10 feet off the shoulder of a road which was located along the southeast side of the airport.

The pilot advised that he was not previously aware that the runway contained a significant downhill gradient and had been sealed with a weather sealant.

Review of ATC voice recordings revealed that after the accident, the pilot advised ATC that he had "landed long on the runway" and "bent the airplane up."


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilot records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, and airplane single-engine land and a type rating in the CE-525S. He also held private pilot certificate for rotorcraft. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on October 5, 2012. He reported that he had accrued approximately 3,960 total flight hours.


The accident airplane was a four place, high-wing, single engine airplane of conventional construction. It was equipped with tricycle landing gear, and single slot type electrically controlled wing flaps.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1998. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 1, 2013. At the time of accident, the airplane had accrued approximately 1,103 total hours of operation.

Electrical System

The airplane was equipped with a 28-volt, direct current electrical system. The system was powered by a belt driven, 60-amp alternator and a 24-volt battery, located in the tailcone area, aft of the baggage compartment. Power was supplied to most general electrical circuits through a split primary bus bar (Electrical Bus No. 1 and Electrical Bus No. 2), with an essential bus (Essential/Crossfeed Bus) wired between the two primaries to provide power for the master switch, annunciator circuits, and interior lighting.

Each primary bus bar was also connected to an avionics bus bar (Avionics Bus No.1 and Avionics Bus No.2) via a single avionics master switch. The primary buses were on anytime the master switch was turned on, and were not affected by starter or external power usage. The avionics buses were on when the master switch and avionics master switch were in the "ON" position.

The airplane used a power distribution module (J-Box) located on the left forward side of the firewall, to house all relays used throughout the electrical system. In addition, the alternator control unit (ACU) and the external power connector were housed within the module.

Ammeter/Vacuum Gauge

The airplane was equipped with an ammeter/ vacuum gauge which was located on the lower left side of the instrument panel. It indicated the amount of current, in amperes from the alternator to the battery, or from the battery to the airplane electrical system. When the engine was operating and the master switch was on, the ammeter would indicate the charging rate applied to the battery. In the event that the alternator was not functioning, the ammeter would have indicated a battery discharge rate.

Annunciator Panel

An annunciator panel was located above the avionics stack and provided caution (amber) and warning (red) messages for selected portions of the airplane systems. Inputs to the annunciator came from each fuel transmitter, the oil temperature transducer, low oil pressure switch, the vacuum transducer, and the ACU.

The low voltage warning light in the annunciator panel would activate anytime the voltage would fall below 24.5 volts. If low voltage was detected, the red annunciation "VOLTS" would flash for approximately 10 seconds to gain attention of the pilot before illuminating steadily. Once illuminated, the pilot would not have been able to turn off the annunciator.

Wing Flap System

The wing flap system received its electrical power from Electrical Bus No.2 and was protected by a 10-ampere circuit breaker labeled "FLAP" on the lower left side of the control panel.

The single slot-type wing flaps could be extended or retracted by positioning the wing flap switch lever on the instrument panel to the desired flap deflection position (10,20, or 30 degrees). In order to do this, the switch lever was moved up or down in a slotted panel that provided mechanical stops at the 10 and 20 degree positions. To change flap settings, the flap lever was moved to the right to clear the mechanical stops at the 10 and 20 degree positions. A scale and pointer to the left of the flap switch would indicate the flap travel in degrees.

Lift and drag could be varied by the pilot through the use of this system. Flap extension during landings provided several advantages by:

• Producing greater lift and permitting lower landing speed.

• Producing greater drag, permitting a steep descent angle without airspeed increase.

• Reducing the length of the landing roll.


The National Weather Service Surface Analysis Chart for 0800 EDT (1200Z) for the area depicted a stationary front extending over Maryland into West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania and extending along the route of flight, with the accident site located immediately north of the frontal position. A small "bubble high" pressure system at 1017-hectopascals (hPa) was located over the Pennsylvania and Maryland border in the vicinity of the accident site. The station models indicated light winds less than 10 knots, overcast sky conditions with rain, fog, and/or mist were over the region.

Clear conditions were reported over North Carolina in the vicinity of the destination airport.

The National Climatic Data Center National radar mosaic for 0810 indicated an extensive band of weather echoes extending over the area Pennsylvania and Maryland and extended over the flight track and the Elkton area.

Cecil County Airport (58M), Elkton, MD, did not have any weather reporting capability. The closest weather reporting to the accident site was from Phillips Army Airfield (APG), Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, approximately 11 miles southwest, and an elevation of 57 feet. The airport reported the following conditions surrounding the period:

At 0754, winds were calm, visibility was 6 miles in mist, a broken cloud deck was present at 6,000 feet, it was overcast at 11,000 feet, the temperature was 16 degrees C, the dew point was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.00 inches of mercury.

At 0856, the winds were 360 at 4 knots, visibility was 5 miles in light rain and mist, a broken cloud deck was present at 6,000 feet, it was overcast at 11,000 feet, the temperature was 16 degrees C, the dew point was 13 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.01 inches of mercury.

The closest WSR-88D weather radar was located at Dover Air Force Base (DOX), Dover, Delaware approximately 50 miles southeast of Elkton, MD. The DOX, 0.5 base reflectivity images for 0814 depicted echoes of 5 to 35 dBZ or light to moderate intensity precipitation along the flight track. No strong echoes associated with any thunderstorms were identified over the route.


According to the airport facility directory, 58M was an uncontrolled airport at a field elevation of 106 feet msl. Runway 13 was covered with an asphalt/aggregate friction seal coat in good condition, and was marked with basic markings in poor condition. It was also equipped with a precision approach path indicator which provided a 4.00-degree glide path, and runway end identifier lights. The runway was 2,989 feet long, and 70 feet wide. Obstructions were present on the final approach path in the form of 74-foot high trees located 919 feet from the runway, and 280 feet left of the centerline which required a 9:1 slope to clear. The threshold was displaced by 288 feet, and the runway slope was listed as being 1.5 percent toward the departure end of the runway.


Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that during the runway overrun and impact with the fence, the airplane incurred damage to propeller, engine, engine mount, firewall, nose landing gear, engine cowlings, fuselage, left wing, empennage, horizontal stab, and vertical fin. Further examination revealed that the battery was discharged, there was no evidence of a lightning strike, and the brakes were functional.

Examination of the key components of the J-Box which included relays, fuses, and the ACU, did not reveal an evidence of failure or malfunction. The coil resistance of each relay was found to be within normal parameters, and the bus fuses were not blown and were in good condition. The low voltage function of the alternator control unit when tested also provided a discrete signal to the avionics display when the bus voltage dropped below 24.5 volts.

Testing of the alternator revealed that there was no output from the alternator and system voltage was at battery level. The field voltage from the ACU was at full field condition indicating that there was a possible problem with the alternator. This was confirmed when field resistance between the field terminal and ground was measured and found to be an open circuit. Upon disassembly of the alternator, it was noticed that the negative (ground) field brush was completely worn down to the braided lead that connects it. There was evidence that the brush lead (which is embedded into the carbon brush body) was actually riding on the slip ring and conducting until the braid finally wore through. There was also evidence that the braid was riding on the copper slip ring because of the deep groove that was worn into the slip ring. The positive brush was also worn, and it was estimated that approximately 40 percent of the brush remained. The brush springs were removed and inspected and no defects were found. To verify the integrity of the rest of the rotor assembly the resistance of the rotor winding was also measured at the slip ring and was found to be 12.2 Ohms which was within the normal range.


No-flap Approach and Landing

According to the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A), the inability to extend the wing flaps necessitates a no-flap approach and landing.

In light airplanes a no flap approach and landing is not particularly difficult or dangerous. However, there are certain factors which must be considered in the execution of this maneuver. A no-flap landing requires substantially more runway than normal. The increase in required landing distance could be as much as 50 percent.

When flying in the traffic pattern with the wing flaps retracted, the airplane must be flown in a relatively nose-high attitude to maintain altitude, as compared to flight with flaps extended. Losing altitude can be more of a problem without the benefit of the drag normally provided by flaps. A wider, longer traffic pattern may be required in order to avoid the necessity of diving to lose altitude and consequently building up excessive airspeed.

On final approach, a nose-high attitude can make it difficult to see the runway. This situation, if not anticipated, can result in serious errors in judgment of height and distance. Approaching the runw

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s failure to attain the proper touchdown point during a no-flap landing to a wet, down-sloping runway, and the airplane's dynamic hydroplaning after touchdown, which resulted in a runway overrun. Contributing to the accident was a total loss of electrical power due to an alternator failure.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.