NTSB Identification: WPR13FA053
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 17, 2012 in Bondurant, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 182D, registration: N61LN
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 noninstrument-rated pilot departed on a visual flight rules cross-county flight. Visual and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area around the time of the accident. Review of recorded radar data provided by the FAA (which did not record altitude) and recovered GPS data depicted the flight departing and proceeding on a south, southeasterly course then turning left to an easterly heading toward the intended destination; the last recorded radar return was about 1.5 miles northwest of the accident site. Throughout this timeframe, recorded GPS altitudes varied between 8,000 and 12,300 feet, however, an ascent to 13,450 feet mean sea level (msl) was recorded just before the end of recorded GPS data, about 22 miles west of the accident site. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted trees and mountainous terrain on a southwesterly heading just below the top of a ridgeline at an altitude of about 10,030 feet msl. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
AIRMETs for instrument meteorological conditions, mountain obscuration, and moderate icing conditions were in effect throughout the area about the time of the accident. Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) imagery indicated that clouds with tops of 16,700 feet msl were within the accident area, however, the cloud bases could not be determined. There was no evidence that the pilot obtained a weather briefing for the flight. Wreckage impact signatures and radar data were consistent with a right turn away from the flight’s intended destination just before the accident. It is likely that the pilot did not maintain sufficient altitude above the mountainous terrain while attempting to maneuver around the instrument meteorological conditions at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The noninstrument-rated pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering around weather.
Full narrative available
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