On January 10, 1994, at 0730 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna P210N, N5384W, collided with the ground following an inflight loss of control during the takeoff initial climb at South County Airport, San Martin, California. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and included a witness reported indefinite ceiling, visibility 150 feet in heavy fog. The aircraft was destroyed in the ground collision sequence and post crash fire. The certificated private pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries; however, the remaining passenger incurred minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the mishap as a personal cross country flight to Mammoth Lakes, California. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a verbal statement, the pilot said that as the aircraft entered the initial climb after rotation, the airspeed began decreasing. He lowered the nose slightly to counter the decreasing airspeed and the aircraft hit the ground shortly thereafter.
The owner of a fixed base operation at the airport reported that the aircraft attempted to takeoff on runway 32. The witness stated that the ground visibility was 150 feet in heavy fog at the time, and, that ice was present on the wings of aircraft parked on the flight line. The FBO line person who fueled the accident aircraft just prior to departure stated that he had to "scrape ice away from the fuel filler ports on the wings in order to open the fuel caps." The line person said the ice was like frozen dew and very rough in character.
All of the ground witnesses at the airport stated that strong engine sounds were heard during the takeoff sequence to ground impact.
An FAA inspector from the San Jose, California, Flight Standards District Office responded to the accident site. He reported that when he arrived at 0930 hours the visibility was still near zero in heavy fog. The inspector stated that he found a series of perpendicular ground scars similar to propeller slashes in the ground just beyond the end of the runway. A path of ground scars was observed proceeding through a damaged fence and terminating at the aircraft wreckage, which came to rest near a freeway onramp about one eighth of a mile from the departure end of the runway.
The fuselage and inboard portions of both wings were consumed by fire. The inspector reported that he found the landing gear retracted and the flap actuator extended to five degrees. No discrepancies were noted in the examination of the dual vacuum pump installation. No cockpit instrumentation survived the post crash fire. No discrepancies were noted during examination of the engine.