NTSB Identification: LAX01GA057.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 12, 2000 in Lancaster, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 182P, registration: N182ER
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

: NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot lost control of the single engine airplane during a rapid descent to the arrival airport, and impacted the ground in a near vertical attitude at very high speed. The pilot reported he was 7 or 8 miles from the airport at 8,500 feet msl, and was inbound for landing. The controller asked the pilot if he would be able to descend from his position. The pilot answered, "Yeah, if I could do right traffic, I'll go into a imitation of a rock, see what I can do." The controller told the pilot to enter a left downwind leg at a midfield position, and issued the wind conditions, which were reported as 270 degrees at 25 knots. Several witnesses, within a mile of the accident site, reported seeing the airplane as being in a steep, nose down attitude at a rapidly increasing rate of descent. The airplane maintained a perpendicular, nose down attitude until they lost sight of the airplane behind low scrub brush. About the same time they lost sight, they reported seeing a dust cloud rise in the same vicinity. The dust cloud quickly dissipated in the gusting surface winds. The airplane's mode C radar data depicted the airplane descending at a rate of 5,500 feet per minute between the last two radar returns, which were spaced 12 seconds apart. The airplane's last radar return was depicted as 4,900 feet msl (2,545 feet above the ground). Co-workers described the following procedure used by the mishap pilot to lose altitude quickly: reduce power and slow airplane to 120 knots; position propeller control full forward; allow the engine temperatures to normalize; and trim airplane nose down to achieve an indicated airspeed near Vne (redline - Never Exceed Speed; 176 knots). It was reported the pilot learned this from other pilots who took parachutists to altitude. No pre-accident anomalies were noted with the airframe and engine during the examination. The main wings and all fixed and movable primary and secondary control surfaces were accounted for at the impact site. No evidence was found to support a physiological incapacitation. Investigators considered the possibility of some combination of airplane attitude and speed aerodynamically blanking the empennage surfaces; however, no evidence to support such a conclusion was found.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's in-flight loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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