NTSB Identification: ANC11FA069
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 24, 2011 in Juneau, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N7304S
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 pilot and his wife were on a personal, cross-country flight between two airports separated by areas of coastal waterways and mountainous terrain. The flight was conducted under visual flight rules, but weather conditions in the area were low ceilings and reduced visibility due to rain, fog, and mist. There is no record that the pilot received a weather briefing. The pilot advised an air traffic control tower specialist at the destination airport that he was about 10 miles southwest of the airport for landing. Moments later, a faint emergency locator transmitter signal was detected. No further radio contact from the pilot was received. The next day, the wreckage was found in an area of mountainous terrain about 6 miles southeast of the airport. A postaccident examination disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

Examination of the pilot's portable global positioning system (GPS) receiver revealed that he was apparently following a straight-line flight path from the departure airport to a secondary airport that was close to the larger, primary (destination) airport. This flight path was directly over mountainous terrain, whereas a track from the departure airport to the primary airport would have been over lower terrain. It is unknown if the pilot was aware he was flying toward an airport other than his proclaimed destination. The purpose of the flight was to take his wife to the primary airport to connect with a scheduled commercial flight that was due to depart only 43 minutes from the time the accident occurred.

Given the lack of mechanical deficiencies with the airplane, the absence of any distress communications, and the pilot's self-induced pressure to get his wife to the airport to avoid missing her flight, it is likely the pilot flew into instrument meteorological conditions while tracking his portable GPS receiver to the wrong destination and subsequently collided with mountainous terrain.

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

The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with mountainous terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's self-induced pressure to reach his destination.

Full narrative available

Index for Jul2011 | Index of months