NTSB Identification: ERA10FA471
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 08, 2010 in Helena, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 182T, registration: N804GK
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 pilot was en route to an airport that did not have a control tower or weather reporting facilities. He checked weather at surrounding airports and informed the air traffic controller that he would need to fly the global positioning system (GPS) approach. Once cleared for the approach, no subsequent communication was received from the pilot. Radar data showed that the airplane intercepted the final approach segment and descended without leveling off at the minimum descent altitude. The airplane impacted trees and terrain about 2.74 miles from the runway, on a heading and course that were aligned with the runway. Although a pilot-rated passenger survived, he had no recollection of the accident flight. Witnesses reported that it was foggy at the time of the accident. Weather at nearby airports indicated that low ceilings and visibilities were prevalent in the area, with the weather gradually improving at the time of the accident. An examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. Postmortem toxicology testing on the fatally injured pilot noted elevated glucose levels in the vitreous fluid and urine, and an elevated hemoglobin A1c level in the blood, indicating that the pilot was likely diabetic with poorly-controlled blood sugar. While the investigation was unable to determine that the pilot was impaired, he had recently eaten and his blood sugar may have been high enough to impair his cognitive performance. Though there were no indications that the pilot was aware of his diabetes, a Federal Aviation Administration medical examination nearly 4 years before the accident had noted elevated urine and blood sugar without any additional follow-up required.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s continuance of the GPS approach below the minimum descent altitude while landing in instrument meteorological conditions. Full narrative available
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