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On September 7, 1997, at 1830 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182N, N9043G, collided with terrain during climb following takeoff from Montrose Regional Airport, Montrose, Colorado. The two private certificated pilots and one passenger received fatal injuries, the other passenger received serious injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. No flight plan was filed for this personal flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight departed Montrose approximately 1820 and was en route to Flagstaff, Arizona.
According to documents retrieved, 38.7 gallons of fuel was purchased in Montrose which topped the tanks at 84 gallons.
According to a witness who was located approximately 200 yards from the accident site, he observed the aircraft flying low over the trees in a southerly direction. The witness said he looked away and when he looked back the aircraft had impacted into trees. The witness stated that he went to the aircraft and found four people inside the fuselage and he went to find someone who could send for help. He, and others in the area, then went to the aircraft and extracted the rear seat occupants. The front seat occupants did not have signs of a pulse so they were not removed. According to the witness, when emergency response people arrived they took control of the scene.
Seating was: Left front - Robert Briggs, right front - Jerry Stoneberger, left rear - Carol Ann McCoy, right rear - Judy Stoneberger.
The accident occurred at North 38 degrees 16.5 minutes, West 108 degrees 6.7 minutes according to global position system information verified by map coordinates. The accident site was at 9,705 feet above mean sea level (msl), and 204.7 degrees at 17.3 miles from the Montrose airport.
The pilot, who was seated in the left pilot's seat, held private pilot certificate number 1706532 with ratings in single engine land and single engine sea. He held an instrument rating in airplanes. The last activity on his certificate was recorded on September 13, 1996, as an addition to the certificate.
The pilot's medical certificate was a second class with the restriction that he wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. The certificate was issued on December 1, 1995.
No pilot logs were found during the investigation and his flight experience is unknown.
A pilot rated passenger occupied the right pilot's seat. This person held private pilot certificate number 527543069 issued September 20, 1996. He held ratings in single engine land and single engine sea. He did not possess an instrument rating.
This pilot held a third class medical certificate dated September 19 1995. It contained the restriction that he must have glasses for near vision available while exercising the privileges of his pilot certificate.
No pilot logs were found during the investigation and this pilot's flight experience is unknown. AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
This Cessna 182N was manufactured in 1971. The maximum certified gross weight was 2,950 pounds, the fuel capacity was 84 gallons and there was seating for four people. The aircraft was certified for single pilot both day and night operations, had dual flight controls, and could be equipped for instrument flight. It was prohibited from flying in known icing conditions. It had a constant speed 82-inch propeller and was powered by a Continental O-470-R engine, which produced 230 horsepower at 2,600 revolutions per minute.
Daylight conditions were present at the time of the accident and the closest weather reporting station was Montrose, Colorado, which was reporting scattered clouds at 11,000 above ground level (agl) and 10 miles visibility.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was in an Aspen grove with an open, log fence encircled, field to the north. The base course of the ground scar was 180 degrees magnetic. The ground scar was a 42 foot long scrape with a red glass lens at the initial contact point.
At the southern end of the scrape was a gouge in the earth followed by the propeller with one blade embedded in the ground to the shank. The spinner remained attached and was crushed rearward in a corkscrew pattern opposite the direction of rotation. One blade was bent to the rear at the shank with a forward bend approximately half way out the span and blade twisting toward low pitch. The other blade was bent rearward at the shank. Both blades evidenced chordwise scaring.
The fuselage was separated from the empennage aft of the rear seats and was inverted on a heading of 170 degrees at a measured distance of 22 feet from the propeller. The empennage was upright and intact. Control continuity was confirmed to the fracture point from the rudder and elevators. Elevator trim was measured at 10 degrees up elevator. Rudder trim was neutral.
The left wing was connected to the aircraft by control cables and fuel lines. It was inverted on the east side of the fuselage and exhibited chordwise crushing from the leading edge aft along the entire span. Deeper crushing was present from the landing light outboard. Control continuity was confirmed to the fuselage and the flap was loose. The flap drive cross-over cable was separated at the fuselage.
The right wing was separated except for the control cables. The wing was oriented north to south with the wing tip pointing in a southerly direction. The wing was crushed rearward accordion fashion and the flap was measured at the drive to be between 5 and 10 degrees extended. Control continuity to the fuselage was confirmed.
The engine remained attached by cables and hoses and was crushed downward and aft in relationship to the fuselage. On scene observations were:
Engine data plate - O-470-R, serial number 21185-70R. Carburetor air lever was broken from the shaft. Carburetor butterfly valve was closed. Mixture lever broken. Exhaust crushed with burned grass in the tail pipe opening. Oil sump crushed. Front of case, sump lip broken. Engine mounts were all broken. Induction system crushed. Fuel selector valve confirmed on BOTH. Fuel was in the supply line at the firewall. Gascolator screen clean.
The engine was removed to facilities in Montrose for further examination. The examination provided the following information:
The magnetos were removed and rotated by hand. Both produced spark At all leads. The fuel pump was removed. The coupler was intact and undamaged and The pump rotated freely. The engine was rotated by hand and "thumb" compression was present on all cylinders. The vacuum pump was examined with no discrepancies noted and the Coupler was intact and undamaged. The alternator was broken from the mounts. Oil filter partially crushed. The carburetor data plate was a Precision Airmotive plate and provided that the carburetor was a MA-4-5 PN 10-4893-1, s/n 75050923. It had metal floats and fuel in the float chamber. The case nose section was cracked. The spark plugs electrodes were light gray in color and were slightly ovaled.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Weight and balance was calculated using the attached data. The calculations indicated the aircraft weight was 2,957.9 pounds and the maximum allowed weight, except for takeoff, was 2,950 pounds. Center of gravity calculations provided information that the center of gravity was outside the envelope for both takeoff and other flight operations.
According to the attached climb data chart, the maximum rate of climb at 10,000 feet msl was calculated to be 325 feet-per-minute, based on the temperature being 40 degrees above standard. The chart is based on flaps up, an indicated airspeed of 85 mph, and proper leaning of the engine. Any flap deployment would decrease the climb rate possible, as would any deviation from the optimum speed or mixture.
The aircraft was released to the owner's representative, the Carstensen Company, on September 9, 1997. No parts were retained.