NTSB Identification: CEN11FA428
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 29, 2011 in Thornton, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA R182, registration: N2344C
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.

Recorded radar information showed the airplane maneuvering at an altitude of about 500 to 600 feet above ground level and a groundspeed of about 110 knots. Several witnesses saw the airplane’s wings rock before the airplane entered a steep left bank diving turn toward the ground. This occurred about the same time that the wind on the ground began gusting. The airplane impacted the ground inverted, slightly nose-down in a near flat attitude and exploded and a postimpact fire ensued. A postaccident examination of the airplane showed no anomalies indicative of any systems problems prior to the accident. A study of weather conditions in the area at the time of the accident showed a fast moving thunderstorm cell over the area, which was capable of producing severe downdrafts indicative of a microburst. Flight Service Station records showed the pilot did not contact them for any services. Weather forecasts for the time-period the airplane was operating predicted fast moving thunderstorms with high wind gusts and the potential for low level wind shear and microburst conditions.

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

The pilot's inadvertent encounter with a microburst while operating at a low altitude, which resulted in a loss of control from which the pilot could not recover. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight planning for the forecasted severe weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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