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N6450N accident description

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Crash location 41.293333°N, 74.585277°W
Nearest city Wantage, NJ
41.233429°N, 74.599606°W
4.2 miles away
Tail number N6450N
Accident date 16 May 2016
Aircraft type Cessna 210
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On May 16, 2016, about 2242 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 210F, N6450N, was substantially damaged when it impacted wooded terrain under unknown circumstances near Wantage, New Jersey. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Griffiss International Airport (RME), Rome, New York, at 2143. The flight's destination was unknown.

There were no known witnesses to the accident and the airplane was not reported overdue. Air traffic control (ATC) began receiving reports of an emergency locator transmitter near the accident site at 2252. The wreckage was subsequently located by the Civil Airport Patrol on May 19, 2016. The pilot had no contact with flight service or ATC prior to or during the accident flight; however, review of radar data revealed targets with a transponder code of 1200. The targets originated at RME and terminated near the accident side. The last recorded target was at 2241:56, indicating an altitude of 900 feet mean sea level (msl). According to the manager of a fixed based operator at RME, the pilot purchased 25 gallons of fuel during the day of the accident flight and indicated that he would be away for 1 week, but did not specify his destination. The pilot's father reported that he was not aware of the flight or its intended destination.


The pilot, age 59, held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate was issued on October 26, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 300 hours. The pilot's logbook was not recovered.


The six-seat, high-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, was manufactured in 1966. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-520, 285-horsepower engine, equipped with a McCauley constant-speed three-blade propeller. Review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that its most recent annual inspection was completed on November 25, 2015. At that time, the airplane had accrued 2,777.28 total hours of operation and the engine had accrued 1,471.66 hours since its most recent major overhaul. The airplane flew about 1.75 hours from the time of that inspection, until the accident; of which, 1 hour was the accident flight itself.

The pilot had purchased the airplane in 2013. It had been operated for approximately 40 hours, from the time of purchase, until the accident.


Sussex Airport (FWN), Sussex, New Jersey, was located about 6 miles south of the accident site. The recorded weather at FWN, at 2253, included wind calm, visibility 10 miles and clear sky.

Review of sun and moon data from the U.S. Naval Observatory revealed that during the day of the accident, moonrise was at 1522 and moonset was 0339 the following day. The moon was waxing gibbous with 77 percent of its visible disk illuminated.


A debris path was observed, beginning with severed tree branches and a section of left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator. The debris path extended approximately 200 feet on a magnetic course of 240 degrees to the main wreckage, which was at an elevation of 670 feet msl. The main wreckage was inverted, oriented about a magnetic heading of 300 degrees, with both wings partially separated at their respective wing root. Both wings exhibited buckling and leading edge impact damage. No fuel was recovered from the left or right fuel tanks; however, both fuel tanks were breached during impact. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to their respective wing, with the flaps observed in the retracted position. The empennage was intact and exhibited buckling. The vertical stabilizer and rudder also remained intact. The right horizontal stabilizer remained attached and a portion of the right elevator had separated and was recovered beneath the main wreckage.

Control continuity was confirmed from the elevator and rudder to the cockpit. Continuity was also confirmed from the right aileron to the cockpit. The left aileron control cable had separated at the doorpost and exhibited a broomstraw separation. The left aileron balance cable remained intact. Measurement of the elevator trim jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 5-degree tab up (nose down) trim position. The cockpit remained intact and the pilot's lapbelt had been unfastened by rescue personnel. The landing gear was in the retracted position. The magneto switch was in the left position and the fuel selector was positioned to the left fuel tank. The throttle control was midrange and the mixture control was in the idle/cutoff position. The landing light was in the on position.

The three-blade propeller remained attached to the engine. Two blades were bent aft and one blade remained straight. About 1/4 ounce of fuel was recovered in the fuel line from the engine driven fuel pump to the fuel metering unit. The fuel was bright, clear, and consistent in color and odor to 100 low-lead aviation gasoline. No other measurable fuel was recovered from the engine or fuel system. The top spark plugs were removed from the engine for examination. Their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The valve covers were removed from the cylinders and oil was observed throughout the engine. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section of the engine. Thumb compression was attained on all cylinders and the magnetos produced spark to all top leads.

A GPS was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C., for data download. Review of the data plot revealed that it corroborated the radar data, with the last recorded target indicating a GPS altitude of 1,005 feet, located about .20 mile west of the accident site. The plot also revealed a descent over a period of time, with an approximate right 90-degree turn, followed by a left 90-degree turn toward the end of the descent. The GPS data did not record the selected destination.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Morris County Medical Examiner, Morristown, New Jersey, on May 20, 2016. The autopsy report noted the cause of death as "multiple injuries" and there was no evidence of natural disease.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for alcohol and drugs.

NTSB Probable Cause

A collision with terrain for reasons that could not be determined as the investigation did not reveal any postaccident anomalies with the airplane or pilot.

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