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On September 5, 1993, at approximately 1450 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182D, N9995T, was destroyed when it collided with terrain while maneuvering approximately four miles north of Lucile, Idaho. The private pilot, who owned the aircraft and was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. There was no record of a flight plan for the flight, which had a destination of Grangeville, Idaho, and no report of an ELT actuating. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The aircraft wreckage burned after impact.
The pilot had departed his ranch airstrip near Lucile approximately ten minutes before the accident. The aircraft was observed by two witnesses flying north along the west side of the Salmon River Canyon. Family members stated that the airplane sounded normal at the time of departure. Witness Hart said the aircraft entered a right turn, held its turn, crossing the original line of flight and, still turning, impacted the mountain.
Witness Hart said that the right wing dropped just prior to impact, and he described the aircraft descending steeply, while heading toward him, before the impact. He stated that there was no indication that the engine lost power. The witness and his wife made notification to the sheriff's office at 1451. The wreckage did not start burning until some time after the crash impact.
The impact site was approximately 1000 feet above the Salmon River, four road miles by a dirt road northwest of Lucile.
The pilot's flight time, as referenced in this report, was derived from his most recent log book. Additional flight time in Cessna 182 aircraft from earlier records was not compiled. He had recently received a biennial flight review from a pilot examiner, who noted that his performance had been well above the norm.
Witnesses indicated that the weather was clear, with visibility effectively unlimited. The day was described as warm, of about 85 degrees F, with light winds in the canyon below the accident site. Family members stated that the winds were calm at the time of departure from the airstrip.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located on a grass and cactus covered mountainside, estimated at about 40 degrees slope, near the top of the Salmon River Canyon. Elevation was estimated to be about 1000 feet above the river, and about 800 feet above a plateau, on which an old, inactive airstrip was located.
The center section of the fuselage and the inboard portions of the wings, from inboard of the strut attachment points, were consumed by the post crash fire. Both wings were inverted, and the last eight feet or so of the tail cone, along with the rudder, vertical fin, elevator, and horizontal stabilizer, were intact but damaged. The left elevator and horizontal stabilizer tips were dented and partially crushed. The right elevator and horizontal stabilizer were folded upward, and the horizontal stabilizer skin was dented, wrinkled and torn. The stabilizer trim appeared to be in the neutral position. Control cable continuity from the rudder and elevators was established to the vicinity of the aircraft cabin. The left side of the rudder had a "Horton STOL craft" decal, and evidence of STOL modifications to the wing was found.
The leading edge of the left wing, outboard of the landing lights, was crushed aft, and the composite wingtip was mostly consumed by fire and impact damage. The outboard foot of the left flap remained, which was found in the retracted position. The leading edge of the left wing had a cuff of bare aluminum from the most inboard section to the landing light assembly. The "Horton" cuff was separated from the landing light assembly outboard. Pieces of bare aluminum leading edge cuff were found in the wreckage distribution path. The fuel tank area of both wings was consumed by fire. Aileron control cable continuity was established from the ailerons to the center fuselage.
The right wing leading edge ribs and skin were separated from the front spar and the aft skins, and the right wing had sustained significant impact damage. The carburetor throttle valve was found in the closed position. The propeller spinner was crushed.
Both propeller blades were loose in the hub assembly; both blades were bent aft, and exhibited extensive chordwise scratching.
The outboard tip of one blade, approximately 8 inches in length, was separated from the blade. This blade tip was recovered in the vicinity of the fuselage, and exhibited extensive chordwise scratching and leading edge gouges.
The engine and propeller separated from the engine mount and were comparatively undamaged by fire. The crankshaft was bent, the carburetor mounting flange was broken off, and it was noted that the oil cap was missing from the engine. The oil cap was found in the wreckage distribution path.
Ground scars were observed on a bearing of approximately 280 degrees from the main wreckage. First evidence of ground scars was about 100 feet away from the main wreckage, where pieces of a blue-green navigation light globe were found. About 20 feet closer to the wreckage, deeper ground scars attributed to the nose of the aircraft were observed. Plexiglass, engine muffler, right wing leading edge cuff, and other debris were found in the wreckage distribution path between the first ground scar and the main wreckage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Toxicological testing was done on the pilot. Results were negative. An autopsy was conducted, with the determination of extensive trauma related to the aircraft accident and post crash fire. The pathologist noted moderate coronary atherosclerosis as a significant finding.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engine was inspected and partially disassembled at Gustin Aviation, in Lewiston, Idaho. During the inspection, valve train continuity, compression, magneto spark, and engine rotation were noted. The oil screen was free of contamination. No pre-impact mechanical anomalies were noted.
The wreckage was released to the insurance adjuster, and was in storage at Gustin Aviation, Lewiston, Idaho at the time of release.