NTSB Identification: DFW05FA038.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 14, 2004 in Abita Springs, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Cessna T210N, registration: N4873C
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.
The 1,483-hour private pilot and a passenger departed on a 308-nautical mile cross-country flight. Approximately 22 minutes after take off, radar data revealed the airplane was headed west at an assigned cruise altitude of 6,000 feet msl. Shortly after, the airplane began a shallow descent and turned northwest toward an uncontrolled airport that was not its original destination. When the airplane was abeam, and south of the airport, it made a 270-degree, descending left-hand turn before it proceeded on a northeast heading toward the airport. Subsequently, the airplane descended into heavily wooded terrain about 1.2-miles southwest of the airport and was destroyed by post-impact fire. The wind was reported from 350 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 19 knots. Examination of the airplane revealed the fuel selector valve was turned off and no mechanical deficiencies were noted with the engine. The pilot's son disclosed that his father had been having problems with water contamination in the fuel.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Also causal was the pilot's improper in-flight emergency planning when he misjudged his available altitude and made a 360 degree turn away from the airport instead of proceeding directly to it, which resulted in him landing over a mile short of the runway in heavily wooded terrain. A factor was the prevailing high wind.
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