NTSB Identification: SEA01FA070.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 10, 2001 in Fairfield, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 182P, registration: N21565
Injuries: 2 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 aircraft accident report.

In a telephone call to the Seattle Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) about 20 minutes before departure, the pilot asked for the current conditions for the departure and destination airports. Both airports were reporting marginal visual flight rules (VFR) conditions, with conditions worse at the destination. The ceilings at both locations were lower than forecast at the time of the call, and were forecast to lower during the planned flight. When offered terminal forecasts and other weather information by the briefer, the pilot declined. Shortly thereafter, the flight departed under VFR during dark night conditions; no flight plan was filed and no air traffic services were provided. While flying toward the destination at low altitude, the flight encountered an area of rapidly deteriorating weather including low ceilings, rain, and snow. The airplane subsequently struck a stand of trees, separating its left wing, and crashed. Post-accident examinations of the aircraft and engine did not reveal any evidence of pre-impact mechanical or structural defects with the aircraft or engine. The aircraft's emergency locator transmitter (ELT) did not activate in the crash; the flight was not reported missing for several hours and was not located until several hours after being reported missing. Investigators found the switch on the ELT, whose battery had been changed 2 months before the accident, in the OFF position in the wreckage. The ELT functioned as designed when checked with the switch in the ON and ARMED positions.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude and/or clearance over trees, resulting in a collision with trees, separation of a wing and uncontrolled collision with terrain. Factors included the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and preparation, dark night conditions, low ceilings, and mixed rain/snow precipitation conditions.

Full narrative available

Index for Apr2001 | Index of months