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N714 accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Damascus, OR
45.417621°N, 122.458978°W
Tail number N714
Accident date 22 Oct 1997
Aircraft type Cessna 185A
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 22, 1997, approximately 2135 Pacific daylight time, N714, a Cessna 185A, was destroyed when it collided with terrain near Damascus, Oregon. The airline transport pilot and his airline transport pilot passenger were fatally injured. The flight had initiated in Placerville, California, about 1700, after the airplane was acquired by the pilot from an aircraft sales company. There was fire after the impact, and no report of the ELT actuating. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity at the time of the accident.

Contact with the Troutdale, Oregon, air traffic control tower had been initiated prior to the accident by an aircraft believed to be N714, however when Troutdale returned the radio call to establish communications, there was no response from N714. The wreckage distribution was along a 045 degree course in a wooded area. Investigators found no evidence of preexisting mechanical failure at the accident scene.

According to a representative of the sales company, the purchaser had contacted Oakland Flight Service Station for a weather briefing prior to departure. The purchaser had stated to the sales company representative that he planned on stopping for the night at Redmond, Oregon, and had not at that time expressed any plans to continue on to the Portland, Oregon area, or to his home in Kent, Washington.

At 1821, the pilot of N714 contacted Oakland Flight Watch over Chico, California. Weather was provided for Medford, Oregon, Portland, and Seattle, Washington, along with an airmet for occasional moderate turbulence forecast below 12,000 feet. The pilot also requested Arcata, California, and Salem, Oregon, weather, which was also provided.

McMinneville Automated Flight Service Station (AFFS), recorded communications with N714 at 1954 from the Grants Pass, Oregon, vicinity, when the pilot requested weather at Roseburg, Eugene, Salem, and Portland, Oregon. The FSS specialist advised that new weather would be issued in about three minutes. At 2005, McMinnville (MMV)reinitiated contact with N714, and volunteered the weather for those reporting stations. Roseburg: wind 240 at 3, visibility 7, 11,000 feet broken, temperature 11 (Celsius), dew point 8, altimeter 30.13. Eugene: visibility 9, a few clouds at 2,000 feet, 2,600 broken, 3700 overcast. Salem: visibility 6 with mist, a few clouds at 2,000 feet, 3,500 broken, 4300 overcast. Portland International: wind calm, visibility 5 with mist, 1,000 scattered, 2,000 broken, 6,500 overcast, temperature 11, dew point 11, altimeter 30.12.

N714 requested Seattle weather at that time, which was provided.

About an hour later, at 2057, N714 again made contact with MMV, indicating that the airplane was over Eugene. N714 requested information on fuel availability at Hillsboro, Oregon, at that time. MMV checked, and advised N714 that fuel was only available until 2100. N714 then requested weather at Hillsboro and Portland. MMV provided the requested weather: Hillsboro: winds calm visibility 2 with mist, ceiling 4900 broken, temperature 10, dew point 9, altimeter 30.12. Portland: winds calm, visibility 5 with mist, ceiling 800 broken, 2000 overcast, temperature 12, dew point 11 altimeter 30.12, with VFR flight not recommended to Portland.

N714 then requested Seattle weather. MMV provided Seattle and Olympia, Washington, weather, noting that there were IFR conditions along the route. N714 then requested and received cloud tops in the Seattle area. MMV noted tops of 7,000 in the Tacoma, Washington, and breaks at 11,000 and 18,000 feet in the Portland area.

At 2115, N714 again attempted contact with McMinnville, and requested weather at Troutdale. Troutdale was winds calm visibility 4 with 1,000 feet broken, 1,600 overcast, temperature 11, dew point 10, altimeter 30.11.

There was no further contact recorded with MMV.

Radar data of a target squawking 1200, shows an aircraft on a direct heading toward Troutdale with an altitude encoder readout in level flight at 1200 feet from 2131:08 to 2132:56, then a gradual descent to 800 feet until a final radar response at 2134:08, at 45 degrees 27' 11" North, 122 degrees 28' 12" west.

The wreckage was at N45 27.216, W122 27.262. FAA inspectors, assisted by Cessna and Teledyne Continental accident investigators, inspected the wreckage. No evidence of pre-impact mechanical or structural failure was observed.

One witness reported a loss of electrical power in his home about 2130, followed by the sound of an engine at "full open throttle," before an impact with the ground outside his house. Another witness observed that she and her husband were watching television when their power went out and she heard an engine noise increasing in intensity, followed by an impact. A third witness noted an increase in the intensity of the engine, prior to impact, after she, too, suffered a loss of electrical power.

A review of the airplane's documents revealed that the airplane was modified with a Supplemental Type Certificate for use of a 300 horsepower Continental IO-520-D engine, and a Sportsman STOL wing leading edge STC modification. All previously installed navigation and communications equipment was removed and replaced with the following equipment on January 14, 1993:

1 King KX-170B Nav/comm 1 King KI-221C VOR indicator 1 King KT78A transponder 1 King KMA-20 Audio panel 1 Bendix T-12D ADF system, including Bendix 551A ADF indicator 1 ACK A-30 altitude encoder.

On January 29, 1996, a Northstar Loran was installed in the airplane. This receiver was placarded as "Loran C not approved for IFR." Additionally, a Narco Comm 11 760 channel transceiver was listed on the equipment list provided by the aircraft sales entity.

A pitot-static check and a transponder/encoder test were performed July 23, 1996.

Autopsies on both occupants were performed by medical examiners at 301 NE Knott Street, Portland, Oregon. Toxicological testing of samples from the pilot by the FAA Aeromedical Branch were negative. No specific determination was made as to which pilot on board the airplane was manipulating the controls at the time of impact.

The wreckage was moved to HLM Air Services at Independence, Oregon, where it was released on February 4, 1998.

NTSB Probable Cause

failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient altitude/clearance from terrain. Factors relating to the accident included: darkness, and hilly/mountainous terrain.

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