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On August 29, 2000, about 1157 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182N, N92596, was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain about 18 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The private pilot and passenger both received fatal injuries. The personal flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed Las Vegas at 1147, destined for Concord, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport.
The pilot obtained a preflight weather briefing at 1043 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reno, Nevada Flight Service Station. He filed a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan with the briefer but never opened it. Visual flight was not recommended for the route of flight, which was from Las Vegas via airway's Victor 105 to Victor 244 direct to Concord, at a cruising altitude of 12,500 feet mean sea level (msl). His proposed departure time was 1200.
Prior to departure, Las Vegas Clearance Delivery issued a Class B VFR departure clearance to fly heading 270 degrees and climb to 4,000 feet msl, and a transponder code of 4205. The ground controller questioned the pilot about the weather to the west, noting the visibility was no more than 4 to 5 miles from his perspective in the tower. The pilot acknowledged. After departure, the airplane was handed off to the Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON). The controller identified the airplane and asked the pilot to confirm heading and desired course. The pilot replied 270 heading and "going up V105." A climb to 5,500 feet msl was issued, which the pilot acknowledged. Airway V105 is about 8 nautical miles south of the accident site with a departure heading of 251 degrees.
The airplane exited Class B airspace to the west. TRACON instructed the pilot to maintain appropriate VFR altitudes, resume own navigation, and contact the west arrival sector. The pilot acknowledged the frequency change only, and continued his climb and heading for about 8 miles. He never contacted the west arrival sector. About 10 minutes after the west arrival sector controller's acceptance of the handoff at 1150, the controller noticed a loss of radar contact with the VFR airplane. According to FAA Order 7110.65, Part 2-1-6 Safety Alert; Issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude which, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft. The controller made one radio call to the pilot in the blind. The last radar contact occurred about 7,300 feet msl.
About 2100 on August 29, 2000, a family member received a call from the passenger's employer about her failure to show for work. The concerned family member contacted the Oakland Flight Service Station to report an overdue aircraft.
The FAA issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) to their facilities and airports requesting information about services provided to the aircraft. About 2300, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) contacted the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) regarding an Emergency Locator Beacon (ELT) signal on 243 MHz in the accident area. A CAP member performed radar plotting, subsequently informing Las Vegas TRACON of the suspected area. About 0200 on September 30th, Las Vegas TRACON contacted the Las Vegas Metro Police aviation unit and requested they check for an ELT signal on the Las Vegas VORTAC 279-degree radial at 18 miles. Low cloud cover hampered the search area but a brief signal was heard in the general area on 243 MHz.
On the morning of August 30, 2000, the wreckage was located on La Madre Mountain at 7,450 feet msl, about 18 miles west of the departure point.
The private pilot was rated for single engine land and instrument airplanes. He received his instrument rating June 10, 1993. The pilot's logbook was recovered at the accident site. According to the untotaled logbook, he had accumulated about 796 total flight hours. The only formal instrument competency check signed by a flight instructor was dated July 27, 1995. From July 22, 1999, through October 12, 1999, the log documents about 14 hours of instrument type maneuvers incompletely logged and signed by a flight instructor.
According to maintenance records, an FAA approved repair station maintained the airplane. The last documented annual inspection occurred on March 10, 2000, at 3,936 total flight hours. The last documented compliance with FAR 91.411 and 91.413, static and altitude reporting equipment systems, occurred on July 25, 2000.
The Las Vegas 1156 weather was: wind 170 degrees at 12 knots; visibility 7 statute miles; light rain; cumulonimbus clouds at 6,500 feet above ground level (agl); scattered clouds at 12,000 feet agl; overcast at 16,000 feet agl; temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and the altimeter was 29.97 inHg. Visibility lower south through west and northwest; cumulonimbus clouds overhead moving north.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located about 18 miles west of Las Vegas, in the La Madre Mountains about 7,450 feet msl. The wreckage was fragmented and scattered up and down the mountainside.
The wreckage was recovered by helicopter, and examined at Aircraft Recovery, Compton, California, by the Safety Board investigator and representatives from Cessna Aircraft and Teledyne Continental Motors. The engine was broken free from the airplane structure. Both propeller blades were broken from the propeller hub and displayed leading edge damage. The number 1 blade exhibited trailing edge "S" bending and chordwise striations. The engine was fragmented into several pieces with one cylinder and one cylinder head missing from the crankcase. The crankcase was broken open revealing the connecting rods, camshaft, and lifter bodies all appearing to be well lubricated.
The fuselage from the firewall aft to the empennage was fragmented and collapsed. The empennage was severed from the fuselage. The wings were both broken from the cabin structure. The right wing was found above the fuselage, and the left wing was separated by a near vertical embankment about 150 feet higher. The fuel tank compartments revealed hydraulicing of the tanks.
Four instruments were found scattered on the mountainside. The directional gyro indicated a heading about 265 degrees; the instrument vacuum gauge indicated 1 inch of pressure; and the gyro horizon indicated a near level pitch attitude with about 5 degrees left wing low. The tachometer face was found separated from the instrument and without witness marks. No other instruments or gyro rotors were recovered.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On August 30, 2000, the Clark County Medical Examiner conducted a post mortem examination of the pilot. During the course of the procedure samples were obtained for toxicological analysis at the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The toxicological report indicated that 21 mg/dl and 34 mg/dl of ethanol was detected in muscle and kidney tissue, respectively; 2 mg/dl and 7 mg/dl acetaldehyde was detected in muscle and kidney tissue, respectively; and 2 mg/dl N-Propanol was detected in kidney tissue. Recovery of the victims occurred about 24 hours after the accident.
The wreckage was released to the insurance company representative on September 28, 2000.