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N4602U accident description

Vermont map... Vermont list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Monkton, VT
44.220055°N, 73.125399°W
Tail number N4602U
Accident date 31 May 1995
Aircraft type Cessna T210N
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

History of Flight

On May 31, 1995, about 2156 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T210N, N4602U, collided with the trees while maneuvering near Monkton, Vermont (VT). The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed. The personal flight departed Burlington, VT (BVT), at 2139, en route to Hudson, New York. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

At 2113, the pilot of N4602U, contacted the Automated Flight Service Station and requested a standard weather briefing for an IFR flight from Burlington to Hudson. The pilot was provided a standard weather briefing, and advised of an AIRMET for moderate turbulence below 8,000 feet. There was no significant weather forecasted, no pertinent unpublished Notice to Airmen (NOTAM's) or local NOTAM's.

At 2139, N4602U was radar identified by Burlington Approach Control climbing to 6,000 feet, and located approximately 13 nautical miles (nm) south of the Burlington Airport. The pilot of N4602U was then issued a vector to join the airway, and was handed off to Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), Montpelier Sector (R52), Radar Position.

The pilot said to Boston ARTCC at 2150:26, " low voltage light is on and I'm getting a dimming I need to be vectored back to Burlington please." The airplane was located approximately 24nm south of the Burlington Airport, heading in southerly direction, and at an altitude of 6000 feet.

The pilot was cleared "direct to Burlington," issued a clearance to "turn right heading zero one zero," and to contact Burlington Approach Control. The pilot acknowledged the clearance and asked, "can you give me vectors back please?"

The last secondary radar return at 2151:01, showed the airplane at 6000 feet and starting a left turn towards the east. Approximately 30 seconds later, the radar return became a primary target with no altitude information displayed on the radar screen.

At 2151:23, Boston attempted to provide the pilot of N4602U an assigned radio frequency. The pilot did not respond, and there was no further radio contact.

The Boston ARTCC specialist contacted Burlington Approach Control and asked, "...did zero two uniform ever come over," and at 2152:23, Burlington responded, "no and...[it] looked to me like he turned left...I gave him a right turn to zero one zero...." Boston ARTCC responded, "...I see a primary out there that looks like him, he made that left turn...."

The Boston ARTCC specialist told Burlington Approach that it looked like the airplane was heading back to Burlington, heading northbound, and that he "might have lost all his power or something...."

At 2156, the Boston ARTCC specialist contacted Burlington, and said, "we've lost primary." Burlington answered, "yeah so [have] I."

In an attempt to locate N4602U, Burlington Approach asked Mountain Air, Flight 8141 (MTN8141) to monitor frequency 121.5, and check for an emergency locator transmitter (ELT).

At 2159:05, MTN8141, contacted Burlington and said, "we can confirm's reasonably strong."

The last radar return, showed the airplane at an unknown altitude, heading in a northerly direction, and located approximately 24nm south of the airport.

An aerial search was conducted using the airplane's ELT signal, and at 0400, June 1, 1995, the airplane was found in heavily wooded, mountainous terrain, approximately 20nm south of the Burlington Airport.

The accident occurred during the hours of darkness at approximately 44 degrees, 12 minutes north, and 73 degrees, 05 minutes west.


The pilot held a Private Pilot Certificate, with single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings.

An FAA, Third Class Airman Medical certificate was issued to the pilot on August 4, 1994, with no limitations.

The pilot's log book indicated that at the time of the accident he had 322 total flight hours, of which 53 hours were in Cessna T210N aircraft. He had accumulated about 73 hours of instrument flight time, and 45 night flight hours.

The pilot's log book revealed the following:

Last 90 Days- 62 hours total 21 hours night 13 hours actual instruments

Last 30 days- 53 hours total 3 hours night no instrument hours logged

The pilot received his student pilot's license in August, 1994; his Private Pilot Certificate in November, 1994; and his instrument rating in April, 1995.


The BVT weather at 2150 was; 25,000 thin scattered, visibility 20 miles, temperature 74 degrees F, dew point 46 degrees F, wind calm, altimeter 29.96 inches Hg.


The wreckage was examined at the accident site on June 1-2, 1995. All the major components of the airplane were accounted for within the accident site.

The wreckage was found on a mountainside at the 1,225 foot elevation level. The wreckage path through the trees was on a heading of 020 degrees. The first tree that displayed impact damage was approximately 65 feet high, and had been struck about 5 feet from the top. From the tree the airplane continued in a northeasterly direction, shedding parts and both wings, for a distance of approximately 538 feet, before coming to rest with the nose of the airplane heading in a southerly direction.

The master, battery and alternator switches were all found in the "off" position. Search personnel who located the wreckage found a handheld radio, a King KX-99 transceiver, with the switch turned "on." No flashlight was found in the wreckage.

Control continuity was not established because airframe deformation precluded verification. Control cables to all flight control surfaces were found separated and displayed overload signatures. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was not equipped with a rudder trim actuator or aileron actuator. The elevator trim actuator was found 20 degrees tab "up." The elevator trim actuator cable had separated during the impact sequence.

The trailing edge flaps and landing gear were found in the up position.

The engine had separated from the airframe and was lying up-side down, approximately 30 feet northeast of the main wreckage. The engine displayed impact damage, but no fire damage. The crankcase halves were intact and the cylinder cooling fins had impact damage. There was a hole in the crankcase above cylinder #5. The intake and exhaust pipes for all the cylinders were crushed.

The propeller blades had separated from the hub during the impact sequence, and were found approximately 169 to 400 feet northeast of the first tree with impact damage. All three blades displayed leading edge gouging, chordwise scratches and twisting. In addition numerous pieces of cut wood (maple and oak) were found on the wreckage path, which displayed diagonal cuts.

The fuel control was separated from the intake during the impact sequence and was destroyed. No fuel was evident. The throttle and mixture linkages were broken off at the servo.

The main and wing tip fuel tanks were breached and deformed. No fuel was evident in the tanks, however midway down the wreckage path there was evidence of discolored foliage and trees.

The turbocharger was in place and connected to the wastegate. The hot and cold side rotated freely by hand.

Both magnetos had separated from their mounts. The magnetos rotated freely and produced spark.

The vacuum pump was intact and disassembled. No discrepancies were found.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on June 1, 1995, at the Medical Examiner's Office, in Burlington, Vermont, by Dr. Paul Morrow.

Toxicological tests were conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA), Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and revealed, "no drugs or alcohol."


The alternator, manufactured by Ford, part number F3FF10300AAECH, S/N A71920, was functionally tested and disassembled at Mattituck Airbase, Mattituck, New York, on July 25, 1995.

External examination of the alternator revealed damage to the front housing mounting area, and the fan/pulley assembly. There were no obvious indications that the fan belt had come off during the operation of the alternator. The filter condenser wire from the condenser to the battery was broken.

The filter condenser was functionally tested with an ohms meter, and the filter condenser was functionally operating.

The alternator was disassembled and rotor continuity was tested between the rotor slip rings and ground. The specifications for this test was 11 to 14 ohms. The test showed the slip rings were tested at 12 ohms, and no shorts. Continuity of the slip rings was established.

The continuity test of the stader revealed no shorts in the three staders. Continuity in the stader was established.

The alternator bearings were mechanically working. The diode plate revealed continuity on the three posts. Brushes were observed and did not display any wear.

The functional tests and disassembly of the alternator revealed no discrepancies.


The airplane was released to Mr. Ronald J. McCormack, representing the owner's insurance company, on June 2, 1995. The alternator was released to Mr. McCormack, September 1995.

NTSB Probable Cause

failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient altitude or clearance from mountainous terrain. Factors related to the accident were: loss of electrical power for undetermined reason(s), darkness, and the mountainous terrain.

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