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N735VY accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.540555°N, 95.959722°W
Nearest city Morris, MN
45.621905°N, 95.947553°W
5.7 miles away
Tail number N735VY
Accident date 27 Sep 2004
Aircraft type Cessna 182Q
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On September 27, 2004, at approximately 0545 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 182Q, N735VY, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during impact with terrain about 1.55 nautical miles (nm) south of Morris Municipal Airport (MOX), Morris, Minnesota. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 with a flight plan on-file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The pilot, the only occupant, was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and had the intended destination of New Century AirCenter Airport (IXD), Olathe, Kansas.

The pilot was flying to Olathe to attend an event hosted by the National Association of Priest Pilots (NAPP). On the day of the accident, the group was scheduled for a tour of the Garmin International facility located in Olathe. A completed registration flyer for the event was found with the wreckage.

At 0523 cdt, the pilot contacted Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to file a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan from MOX to IXD. The pilot indicated that he would depart between 0530 and 0545 cdt. The flight plan was never activated.

A pilot-rated witness reported seeing an airplane takeoff around the time of the accident. The witness stated that the airplane was about 1/2 statute mile (sm) southeast of the airport at about 200 feet above ground level (agl). The witness remarked that the airplane's climb-out was shallower than a normal departure. The witness reported that there was some ground fog over the tops of the cornfields and in low-lying areas. The witness stated that the sky was not overcast as he observed stars at the time.

The airplane was reported missing the morning of September 28, 2004. Search and rescue operations were initiated both by Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and local law enforcement. The accident site and wreckage was located on September 28, 2004, around 1830 cdt, during an aerial search near the departure airport. The CAP reported the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was operating when found.


According to FAA records, the pilot, age 47, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was not instrument rated. FAA records show the pilot's last medical examination was completed on February 12, 2003, when he was issued a third-class medical certificate with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision."

The pilot's flight logbook was reviewed and total flight times were calculated as of the accident flight. The pilot had a total flight experience of 219.9 hours, all of which were in single-engine airplanes. He had logged 157.9 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC). The pilot had 3.3 hours in actual instrument conditions and 17.6 hours in simulated instrument conditions. He had logged 7.3 hours of night flight experience, of which 0.3 hours were without a flight instructor. The pilot's last logged night flight was on September 3, 2002, during a dual-instructional flight.

The pilot had flown 31.4 hours during the past year, 10.1 hours during the prior 90 days and 5.8 hours during previous 30 days. The accident flight was less than 0.1 hours in duration and was the only flight time accumulated during the previous 24 hours.

The pilot's first flight in a Cessna 182 model was logged on September 17, 2003, and as of the accident flight he had accumulated 25.2 hours in the aircraft. The pilot's last endorsement for a flight review, as required by regulation 14 CFR Part 61.56, was completed on October 2, 2003.

On October 2, 2003, the pilot began receiving flight instruction toward an instrument rating. The pilot had completed 12 dual instruction flights consisting of 23.2 total hours, of which 3.3 hours were in actual instrument conditions and 12.4 hours were in simulated instrument conditions.


The accident airplane was a 1977 Cessna 182Q, Skylane, serial number 18265730. The Cessna Skylane is an all-metal airplane that incorporates a semimonocoque fuselage and empennage design. The airplane is equipped with externally braced wings, wing flaps, a constant speed propeller, and a fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane is configured to seat four occupants and has a certified maximum takeoff weight of 2,950 lbs.

The accident airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on May 20, 1977. The airplane was owned and operated by the Morris-Hancock Flying Club, based at MOX. The FAA issued the flying club an aircraft registration certificate on January 16, 2004. The aircraft had a total service time of 3,356.9 hours at the time of the accident. The last annual inspection was completed on May 5, 2004, and the airplane had accumulated 100.3 hours since the inspection. The last maintenance performed on the accident airplane was on July 28, 2004, at 3,338.8 hours. This maintenance included the installation of a new baggage door latch and lock assembly.

The airplane was equipped with a 230 horsepower Teledyne Continental Motors O-470-U26 engine, serial number 820215-R. The O-470-U26 is a six-cylinder, 470 cubic inch displacement, carburetor equipped, horizontally opposed reciprocating engine. The engine was factory rebuilt on April 17, 2002. The zero-time engine was installed on the accident airplane on May 9, 2002.

The engine had a total time of 164.6 hours at the time of the accident. The last inspection of the engine was performed on August 6, 2004, at 152.6 hours total time. This inspection included an oil change and an oil sample analysis. The results of the oil analysis did not exceed normal values. A review of the engine maintenance records found no history of operational problems.

The propeller was a two-bladed McCauley C2A34C204-XC, hub serial number 766539. The propeller was overhauled on April 8, 2002, and was installed on the accident engine on May 9, 2002. The propeller had accumulated 164.6 hours since the overhaul. The last maintenance performed on the propeller was during the last annual inspection, dated May 5, 2004.

The airplane was topped-off with 9.7 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation fuel on September 26, 2004, at the departure airport. The accident occurred during the first flight after being refueled.


The closest weather reporting station to the accident site was located at the departure airport, about 1.55 nm north of the accident site. The airport is equipped with an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). The following weather conditions were reported prior to and after the time of the accident:

At 0435 cdt: Wind 280 degrees true at 5 knots; visibility 10 sm; sky clear; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.00 inches-of-mercury.

At 0455 cdt: Wind 300 degrees true at 6 knots; visibility 10 sm; scattered clouds at 700 feet agl; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.00 inches-of-mercury.

At 0515 cdt: Wind 310 degrees true at 7 knots; visibility 10 sm; broken clouds at 700 feet agl; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.01 inches-of-mercury.

At 0535 cdt: Wind 320 degrees true at 7 knots; visibility 10 sm; 500 feet agl overcast; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.01 inches-of-mercury.

At 0555 cdt: Wind 330 degrees true at 7 knots; visibility 7 sm; broken clouds at 500 feet agl; temperature 12 degrees Celsius; dew point 12 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.02 inches-of-mercury.

At the time of the accident there were no airman's meteorological information (AIRMET) or significant meteorological information (SIGMET) warnings issued for the accident area, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

At 0523 cdt, the pilot contacted Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to file a flight plan. The briefer told the pilot that there were no "weather advisories" during their conversation. The pilot did not request, nor was he given a standard weather briefing. During the preflight briefing the AFSS briefer asked the pilot if he needed weather and notice to airmen (NOTAM) information. The pilot replied "...give me NOTAMS if any out there."

According to Princeton AFSS, the pilot did not obtain weather information via a direct user access terminal (DUAT) service. However, the departure airport did have a commercial weather display terminal as well as an on-airport ASOS radio broadcast.

The apparent sunrise at the departure airport was at 0718 cdt, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data. The accident occurred at night with 99-percent of the moon's visible disk illuminated, according to data supplied by the U.S. Naval Observatory. The official moonset was at 0601 cdt.

As previously mentioned, a pilot-rated witness reported seeing an airplane takeoff around the time of the accident. The witness reported that there was some ground fog over the tops of the cornfields and in low-lying areas. The witness stated that the sky was not overcast as he observed stars at the time.


The Morris Municipal Airport (MOX) is located 3 sm southwest of Morris, Minnesota. The airport has two runways: 14/32 (4,000 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) and runway 4/22 (2,640 feet by 150 feet). The general airport elevation is listed as 1,138 feet mean sea level (msl).


The National Transportation Safety Board's on-scene investigation began on September 29, 2004.

A global positioning system (GPS) receiver was used to identify the position of the accident site as 45-degrees 32-minutes 26.2-seconds north latitude, 95-degrees 57-minutes 34.8-seconds west longitude. The aircraft impacted in a cornfield located about 1.55 nm south of the departure airport. The GPS elevation of the accident site was 1,039 feet msl.

The wreckage was surveyed using a GPS receiver, tape measure, and compass. The first evidence of ground contact was about 143 feet east of the main wreckage, in an 8 foot high corn crop. A 27 foot wide swath through the corn crop, orientated on a 265-degree magnetic heading, preceded the initial ground impact. The angle of the swath through the corn measured 17-degrees relative to the surrounding terrain.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, left and right wings, and the cockpit. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. The elevator, rudder, wing flap, and right aileron control surfaces remained attached to their respective hinges. The left aileron control surface was found separated from its wing. The left wing was found separated from the fuselage and was inverted, lying next to the right side of the fuselage. The right wing remained partially attached to the fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage. Inspection of the recovered flight control components did not exhibit any evidence of pre-impact malfunction. Flight control cable continuity was established from the elevator and rudder flight control surfaces to the pulley-sector located in the aft cabin. Flight control cable continuity for the left and right aileron controls could not be established due to damage. All flight control cable breaks were consistent with an overload failure. The wing flaps and flap drive motor were found in a fully retracted position. The fuel selector valve was found in the "both" position. A fuel sample was collected from the left wing fuel bladder. The fuel sample did not contain any particulate or water contamination and was blue in color.

The attitude indicator, turn coordinator, and directional gyro instruments were disassembled. The attitude indicator and turn coordinator exhibited rotational scoring on their gyros and housings. The directional gyro components did not exhibit rotational scoring.

The engine was found separated from the fuselage firewall and its mount assembly. The engine crankshaft and camshaft were rotated by means of the accessory section. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Engine crankshaft and valve-train continuity was confirmed. The left and right magnetos provided spark on all leads as the engine crankshaft was rotated. The upper spark plugs were removed and their electrodes exhibited a light gray color with no apparent damage. The oil pump was disassembled and the two impeller gears were intact. The carburetor fuel supply line contained fuel. The fuel finger-screen was not contaminated or obstructed. The carburetor was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The vacuum system pump functioned when the input shaft was rotated by hand. The vacuum system pump was disassembled and no anomalies were noted.

The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange. Both propeller blades remained attached to the hub assembly and exhibited span-wise bending.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on September 29, 2004, at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Toxicology samples for the pilot were submitted to the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology results indicated Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine were detected in urine samples. Pseudoephedrine is a common cold medication used to treat nasal congestion caused by colds or hay fever. Ephedrine is commonly used in over-the-counter weight loss products.


The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner on September 30, 2004.

Parties to the investigation included the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate weather evaluation that resulted flight into night instrument meteorological conditions and a subsequent loss of aircraft control. Factors to the accident were the pilot's lack of recent night experience and the low cloud ceiling at night.

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