NTSB Identification: ATL03FA017.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 19, 2002 in Cornelia, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/28/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N58GH
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 aircraft accident report.

The flight was cleared for a GPS 6 approach, and the wreckage was found a few hundred feet from the runway. Trees near the runway threshold were found broken 15 feet above the runway elevation. The published minimum descent altitude for the approach was 533 feet above the runway touchdown zone. Examination of the airframe, engine, vacuum pumps, and instruments revealed no evidence of malfunction. Forensic toxicology revealed 0.67 (ug/mL, ug/g) Tramadol was detected in the pilot's blood, and Tramadol was present in the urine. Tramadol is a prescription narcotic-like painkiller used for moderate to severe pain, and the pilot was taking the drug for pain following back surgery. A review of FAA airman medical records revealed no evidence the pilot reported the Tramadol usage to the FAA. Title 14 CFR Part 91.17 states, "(a) No person may act ... as a crewmember of a civil aircraft ... (3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety."

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

The pilot's failure to follow IFR approach procedures and continue below the minimum descent altitude, which resulted in an inflight collision with trees, and the ground. A factor was the pilot's impairment from a prescription drug.

Full narrative available

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