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N2179S accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Elida, NM
33.946753°N, 103.656626°W
Tail number N2179S
Accident date 08 Dec 1999
Aircraft type Cessna T210L
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On December 8, 1999, at 2331 mountain standard time, a Cessna T210L, N2179S, operated by New Mexico Flying Service and doing business as B&M Enterprises, was destroyed when it impacted terrain about 11 miles west of Elida, New Mexico. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the on-demand nonscheduled domestic cargo flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 135. The flight originated in Albuquerque, New Mexico, approximately 2230, and was en route to Lubbock, Texas.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents, the pilot telephoned the Albuquerque Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at 2113, filed an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan to Lubbock, Texas, then obtained a standard preflight weather briefing. At 2208, the pilot called Albuquerque clearance delivery and was given his IFR clearance to Lubbock. When asked if he had Center Weather Advisory (CWA) 101, the pilot replied in the affirmative (CWA 101 indicated a line of level 3 thunderstorms between Amarillo and a point 20 miles west of Lubbock, 50 miles wide, with tops near 30,000 feet, moving from 220 degrees at 25 knots). At 2225, the pilot was cleared to taxi to runway 03. At 2228, he was cleared for takeoff and to climb to and maintain 13,000 feet on a direct route to the Texico VORTAC. He was subsequently cleared to fly direct to Lubbock. At 2249, the pilot filed a PIREP (pilot report), advising the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) that he was "skirtin' the tops [of the overcast clouds] at 13 [000 feet]." At 2301 he reported, "It's also been a smooth ride, here."

At 2303, the pilot requested clearance to descend to 11,000 feet. He gave no reason. Descent clearance was eventually given at 2310. At 2320 the pilot said, "Any chance I can get lower? I'm starting to pick up some ice, here." He was cleared to 9,000 feet and told to "keep me (ARTCC) informed." At 2329 the controller told the pilot, "You reversed course on me, whatcha doin', sir?" The pilot replied, "I'm not sure. My instruments are going bad." The controller asked the pilot if he wanted to "try [to fly] it with compass," to which the pilot replied, "I'm doing my *(best)." The pilot was advised of an airport at his 6 o'clock position, "if you need to get down." The pilot replied, "I need to get down." He was instructed to "come around to a heading of about zero one zero." Fourteen seconds later, at 2330:33, the pilot yelled, "(I'm) in trouble! I'm in trouble!" This was the last transmission received from the pilot.

The accident occurred during the hours of darkness at a location of 34 degrees, 01'29.6" north latitude, and 103 degrees, 50'59.0" west longitude. The accident site elevation was 4,240 feet msl (mean sea level). PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 39, was born on August 10, 1960. He held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single/multiengine and instrument ratings. His FAA second class airman medical certificate, dated June 2, 1999, contained no restrictions or limitations.

According to a Clovis, New Mexico, fixed base operator (FBO) who knew the pilot well, the pilot had told him he wanted to get out of the business "before it killed him." The FBO said the pilot had previously resigned from New Mexico Flying Service for unspecified safety reasons, but was asked to return. The pilot did so but with the understanding that it was only temporary. According to company records, the pilot was given a letter of reprimand that cited him for "[refusing] excess cargo," and with having "a problem. . .with intimidation by customer officials. . ." The infraction allegedly occurred on November 15, 1999.

Company records indicate the pilot was employed on September 22, 1999. He successfully completed an FAR Part 135 competency/proficiency flight check (which also constitutes a biennial flight review) in a Cessna T210L on September 30. Company records also indicate the pilot had accrued the following flight times:

Total time: 1,914 Single engine: 1,200 Multi-engine: 671

Pilot-in-command: 1,832 Single-engine: 1,150 Multi-engine: 639

Day: 1,464 Night: 347 Cross-country: 1,577

Total instruments: 200 Actual: 109 Simulated: 91


N2179S (s/n 210-61140), a model T210L, was manufactured by the Cessna Aircraft Company in December 1975. It was equipped with a Continental TSIO-520-H engine, rated at 285 horsepower, and a McCauley 3-blade, all-metal, constant speed propeller (m/n 3A34C402B).

The following data was extracted from the airplane maintenance records:

Annual inspection: November 1, 1999 100-hour inspection: December 8, 1999 (day of accident) Tachometer reading: 3,977.9 hours Airframe total time: 6,421.9 hours Engine total time and time since major overhaul: 296.6 hours

Propeller total time: 4,750.3 hours Propeller major overhaul: July 20, 1999 Time since major overhaul: 500.3 hours

IFR calibration/check: January 18, 1999.


Nearby residents and local law enforcement officials said that at the time of the accident, there were strong winds and blowing snow.

At 1135, Clovis Municipal Airport (CVN) AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System), located 48 miles northeast of the accident site, recorded the following meteorology: WIND 020 DEGREES AT 33 KNOTS, GUSTS TO 38 KNOTS; VISIBILITY 2 STATUTE MILES; CEILING 100 FEET BROKEN, 900 FEET OVERCAST; TEMPERATURE -1 DEGREES CELCIUS, DEW POINT -2 DEGREES CELCIUS; ALTIMETER 30.04 INCHES OF MERCURY.

At 1131, Cannon Air Force Base (CVS), located 38 miles northeast of the accident site, recorded the following meteorology: WIND 020 DEGREES AT 25 KNOTS, GUSTS TO 35 KNOTS; VISIBILITY 4 STATUTE MILES, LIGHT SNOW; FEW CLOUDS AT 500 FEET, CEILING 1,700 FEET BROKEN, 7,000 FEET OVERCAST; TEMPERATURE 0 DEGREES CELCIUS, DEW POINT MISSING; ALTIMETER 30.01 INCHES OF MERCURY.


Ground scars and witness marks indicated the airplane struck the ground in a near vertical attitude on a magnetic heading of 096 degrees. The propeller and engine were buried in the ground at the point of impact with only the aft two cylinders partially exposed. There was no evidence of an inflight breakup or inflight fire. Postimpact fire consumed the majority of the airplane.

Both the landing gear and flaps were retracted. With the exception of the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator, all flight controls were identified. Flight control cable continuity was partially established. No avionics or instruments were found intact. A clasped seat belt buckle and a portion of a harness were identified. The vacuum pump mounting pads separated from the engine accessory case, and only pieces of a vacuum pump were identified.


An autopsy was conducted by the New Mexico Medical Examiner's Office. The New Mexico Medical Examiner's Office and FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute also conducted toxicological protocols. According to CAMI's report (#9900316001), no ethanol was detected in kidney and muscle tissue, and no drugs were detected in muscle tissue. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed.


NTAP (National Track Analysis Program) data was retrieved and plotted from the time N2179S departed Albuquerque International Airport until it disappeared from radar (attached, see docket exhibits). The data shows N2179S proceeding on course until 2326:59, when it starts a left turn that eventually is greater than 360 degrees. Between 2327:59 and 2329:51, the airplane climbs from 9,400 feet to 10,200 feet.


Although the airplane was equipped with dual vacuum pumps, deice boots, and a heated propeller and windshield, it was not certificated for flight into known icing conditions.

According to an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) inspector, the owner of New Mexico Flying Service appeared at the FSDO office in Albuquerque on March 3, 2000. In front of the secretaries, he tore up his air carrier operating certificate and left. In addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, parties to the investigation included the Cessna Aircraft Company and Teledyne Continental Motors. The wreckage was released to the insurance company on March 7, 2000. No parts were retained.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control for reasons undetermined. Factors were icing conditions and instrument failure, as reported by the pilot.

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