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CGBFM accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Royal City, WA
46.900970°N, 119.630591°W

Tail number CGBFM
Accident date 31 Mar 1998
Aircraft type Cessna P210N
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 31, 1998, about 0940 Pacific standard time, a Cessna P210N, C-GBFM, registered to and operated by Leisure Vacations, as a 14 CFR Part 91 business flight, collided with mountainous terrain approximately 6 miles southeast of Royal City, Washington. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed by a post crash fire. The commercial pilot and his two passengers were fatally injured. The flight had originated from Moses Lake, Washington, about 20 minutes prior to the accident.

The flight had originally departed from Vernon, British Columbia, earlier in the day with a visual flight rules flight plan filed to Moses Lake. The flight plan was canceled upon landing at Moses Lake. After clearing U.S. Customs, the flight was to continue on to Boardman, Oregon, the flights final destination.

The U.S. Customs agent, who met the flight, reported that the aircraft landed about 0835-0840. The agent met the aircraft to check the forms, and stated that the pilot forgot the paperwork in the aircraft and had to go and get them. The agent also noted that the pilot had logged the incorrect date on the paperwork and in the aircraft Journey Log. The agent stated that while in his office, the pilot used his cell phone to call someone in Boardman to ask about the weather. The agent stated that the pilot reported that the weather was good in Boardman. The pilot also reported to the agent that the flight from Vernon to Moses Lake was "good" and did not indicate any problems with the airplane.

The agent was asked about his observations of the pilot's physical and mental condition. The agent reported that the pilot stated that he was "really hurting," and that over the weekend he had been "pinned behind a steering wheel and tractor," and that it had "crushed his chest." The agent stated that the pilot was moving slowly and had trouble bending over to pick up a credit card that he had dropped. He also noted that the pilot had trouble getting into the airplane when they were preparing to depart.

Prior to departure, the aircraft was fueled. The person who fueled the aircraft stated that the aircraft took 41.6 gallons of 100LL. The fueler stated that this topped off both fuel tanks. The fueler asked the pilot if he needed any oil, and the pilot stated that he did not. The fueler stated that the pilot did not mention any problems with the airplane and no other services were provided. The fueler also reported that he noted that the pilot was moving "very slow." The pilot stated to the fueler that he had "tangled with a truck and trailer," and that he was "stiff and sore."

Moses Lake tower personnel reported that the flight was cleared for takeoff at 0922. The tower personnel advised the pilot on firing center activity in the restricted area between Ellensburg, Washington, and Yakima, Washington. The personnel reported that the pilot did not ask for any weather information or flight services. No flight plan was filed.

Ranch hands who were herding cattle about a quarter of a mile north of the accident site reported that they heard an aircraft fly overhead their location but could not see the aircraft due to the low overcast layer. The mountain ridge was completely obscured. One ranch hand heard the sound of the engine, then an impact, followed by silence. The ranch hands reported that the overcast layer broke around 1200 to 1300 and the ridge line became visible. The ranch hands reported that they rode out to a point and spotted smoke near the top of the ridge.

An employee from the Bureau of Land Management arrived at the top of the ridgeline at the lower towers located about 100 feet above the accident site, approximately 20 minutes after the impact. The employee reported that he approached the ridgeline from the south side and entered the fog at about the 1,800 foot level at about 0945. The employee reported that he arrived at the lower towers at about 1000. He reported that the visibility at the top of the ridge was about 100 feet. Light drizzle was falling and the wind was calm. The employee estimated that the temperature was about the mid 40's. The employee remained at the towers until around 1230. At this time, the visibility had improved and the fog was lifting. During the time that the employee was in this area, he did not see or hear anything regarding the aircraft.


At the time of the accident, the pilot held a Canadian issued commercial certificate for single and multi-engine land aircraft with an instrument rating. The pilot's last medical examination was dated December 30, 1997, which listed a restriction that the pilot must wear glasses. The pilot's flight logbook was not located and was presumed destroyed by post-crash fire. Transport Canada records indicate that the pilot listed a total flight time of 2,100 hours at the time of his last medical examination.


At 0907, the Moses Lake surface observation was reporting a 1,100 foot overcast layer with 10 miles visibility. At 0952, the surface observation was reporting a 900 foot overcast layer with 10 miles visibility. The wind was reported as calm for both observations. The temperature was in the low 40's. Light rain had been reported all morning that discontinued about 0752. At 1152, the surface observation indicates that the overcast layer increased in elevation to 2,500 feet.


The wreckage was located on the north side of the Saddle Mountain ridge line. The top of the ridge line was at an approximate elevation of 2,200 feet. The wreckage was located about 100 feet below the ridge line. The terrain angle along the wreckage distribution path was estimated at about 10 to 15 degrees upslope. Ground signatures found at the accident site indicate that a crater measuring about 16 feet in length, five feet wide and three feet deep was the initial ground impact. The soil was loose and moist. The surrounding ground was covered with dry grass. The grass on either side of the crater and continuing along the wreckage distribution path on a magnetic heading of 205 degrees was knocked down. Near the end of the impact crater and five feet to the right of centerline, a small ground disturbance was noted. It was determined that the disturbance was made by the weather radar pod on the right wing contacting the ground. The pod casing was found further up the distribution path along with the right wing tip casing.

Approximately 69 feet into the distribution path, and ten feet to the right, the propeller hub with the blades attached was found. The hub had separated from the crankshaft flange. One blade was buried into the ground. Blade "A" was bent rearward approximately 30 degrees. Minor leading and trailing edge nicks were noted. Blade "B" displayed minor "S" bending deformation and leading edge nicks. Blade "C" which was partially buried in the soft soil, displayed moderate "s" bending deformation.

About 130 feet into the distribution path, parts from the engine were found. The turbo-charger had separated from the engine. The impeller was exposed and turned freely. Dirt and sand was found on the leading edges of the blades. Scoring marks on the housing from the dirt and sand were noted. The grass under the turbo was burned.

Small pieces of the fuselage and interior items continued to be found along the path for another 100 feet. About 200 feet into the wreckage distribution path, the cabin and wings was found. The cabin was completely destroyed by fire. The right wing was positioned inverted. The inboard section of the flap was burned away, however, the outboard section and hinge were noted. The aileron remained attached at the respective hinges. The left wing was positioned right side up. Both the flap and aileron remained attached to their respective hinges. The left wing was also burned. The flap motor located in the right wing indicated that the flaps were in the retracted position.

The empennage was located about 10 feet further uphill from the cabin area and wings. The empennage was not burned. The vertical stabilizer was intact with the rudder attached. Both left and right side horizontal stabilizers were intact with the elevators attached. The control cables running from the tail forward, were broken and frayed.

The engine was located next to the empennage and under the left side horizontal stabilizer. The engine was positioned inverted. Oil was present on the ground.

A section of the aft cabin was found about 88 feet east of the main wreckage. The main landing gear was found retracted in this section.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Dr. Gerald Rappe, Office of Chelan County Coroner, Wenatchee, Washington. The autopsy report indicates that the cause of death was due to multiple injuries.

Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for analysis. The results of the analysis were negative. Carbon Monoxide and cyanide testing were not performed due to lack of suitable specimens.

Deputy Coroner Jerry Jasman, was informed that the pilot had been involved in an auto accident the weekend prior to the aircraft accident. The Deputy Coroner followed-up on this report with the attending physician who treated the pilot. It was reported that on March 29, the pilot was backing up a tractor onto a trailer when he became pinned between the trailer and the steering wheel. X-rays were taken with negative results. The physician reported that the pilot was sore and bruised.


The wreckage was recovered by Speciality Aircraft, and transported to Redmond, Oregon, on April 2, 1998. The wreckage was released to Speciality Aircraft on April 8, 1998.

The engine was inspected at Speciality Aircraft on April 8, 1998. During the inspection, the crankshaft was found to rotate easily with compression developing in cylinders one through five. Cylinder six did not exhibit similar compression as found with cylinders one through five. Cylinder six was removed for further internal inspection. Except for a small amount of granular type debris, no abnormalities were found.

After the wreckage was released to Specialty Aircraft, the registered owner's insurance adjuster notified the National Transportation Safety Board that further inspection of the engine, propeller, and certain recovered instruments was to take place at R. J. Waldron & Company, Richmond, B. C.. The ensuing inspections were witnessed by an investigator from Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). The TSB investigator reported that there appeared to be "abnormal" wear on the rocker arm shafts. All of the cylinders, except for one, that had been recently replace, exhibited this wear. However, the TSB investigator further stated that "although this wear was abnormal, it would not have been considered a contributing factor." No other abnormalities were reported during this second inspection.

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