On September 27, 2000, at 1350 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182Q, N94326, was substantially during a forced landing and collision with terrain in Owingsville, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot sustained minor injuries, but died shortly after the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Manassas, Virginia (HEF), at 1112. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot contacted Lexington Approach Control, at 1347, while in cruise flight approximately 30 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky (LEX). According to the controller, the pilot reported "low fuel and engine sputtering," and that the airplane was over Interstate 64 en route to the Mt. Sterling Airport (IOB). The controller stated that the pilot transmitted only two radio calls before radio contact was lost.
In a telephone interview, one witness described seeing the airplane immediately prior to ground contact. He said the airplane struck the ground, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. The witness went on to describe his efforts to assist the pilot from the wreckage. When asked if he unbuckled the pilot's seat belt, the witness said, "He wasn't buckled in."
In a telephone interview, a police officer said he was crossing the median of the Interstate to turn westbound when he saw the airplane. He said the airplane struck the ground, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. The officer said he pulled over and he and a motorist assisted the pilot out of the airplane. He said:
"I was turning around and heading westbound on I-64. I pulled over and ran up the bank. There was a motorist already there. I was surprised, I mean, I thought that after a plane crash, there was nothing left but itty, bitty pieces. Pretty much the whole plane was intact.
The pilot was lying on his back on the roof of the plane. The doors wouldn't open so; we got the back window out and pulled him out of the plane. He asked for his oxygen so I went back in the plane to get it. I turned it on and gave it to him. It was no more than 10 minutes before the EMS folks showed up and took him away."
When asked if he unbuckled the pilot's seat belt, the officer said:
"I don't believe he had his seatbelt on. He was so weak, he couldn't move. I don't believe he was strong enough to unbuckle a seat belt. There's no way he had his seatbelt on."
Two FAA aviation safety inspectors examined the wreckage on the day of the accident and all major components were accounted for at the scene. According to the operations inspector, there was no odor of fuel at the site. After a preliminary examination, the inspectors supervised the recovery of the wreckage and its movement to the Mt. Sterling Airport for a detailed examination.
The FAA operations inspector said a crane lifted the airplane during recovery and fluid drained from the left wing. The inspector said he thought it was water because the fluid lacked odor and color. He said there was a large fuel stain around the right wing sump drain and down the right side of the cabin. The inspector said the stains appeared to be "old."
Examination of the airframe revealed that the cockpit and cabin areas were not deformed, and both cockpit doors were operational. The pilot's seat belt was unbuckled. Both the male and female ends were wrapped behind the seat back and up into the seat frame.
The airplane's fuel system was not compromised during the accident sequence. Approximately 9 gallons of fuel was drained from the airplane, 6 gallons from the right tank and 3 gallons from the left.
Approximately 1 pint of water was drained from both fuel tanks, the fuel strainer, the carburetor, and the engine cylinders. The fuel strainer contained water, sediment, and debris. The carburetor contained approximately 3 ounces of water.
Examination of the right fuel cap revealed the cap was unsecured. The flush-mounted locking handle was partially broken and found vertical, 90 degrees from the locked-down position. The cap was removed and rust was observed around the inside of the fuel port. The bottom surfaces of the fuel bladders were wrinkled.
Control continuity was established from the flight controls to all flight control surfaces.
The engine was rotated by hand and continuity was established through the powertrain and valvetrain to the accessory section. Compression was confirmed using the thumb method. Both magnetos produced spark at all terminal leads.
A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the airplane was on an annual inspection program. The most recent annual inspection was performed on August 19, 1999, at 2117.9 aircraft hours. The airplane had accrued 30.3 hours of flight time since that date.
According to the fixed-base operator at HEF, the pilot/owner asked to purchase a new fuel cap for the right-side wing fuel tank on July 18, 2000. The pilot was informed that a replacement cap was not available, and that a kit to refurbish the cap was needed to return the cap to serviceable condition. According to the fixed-base operator, the pilot declined to purchase the kit due to the cost.
According to the fixed base operator:
"It was a terrible looking airplane. There was excessive fuel staining down the right side. The cap had no O-ring or gasket and we've had a lot of rain. He didn't want the work. The only work we did was to service his oxygen tank."
The pilot held a private pilot's certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. A review of his logbook revealed that the pilot's total time could not be reconciled. However, it was estimated that he had accrued 2,050 hours of flight experience, of which 1,761 were in the Cessna 182. The pilot's most recent biennial flight review was logged on September 2, 1997.
The pilot's most recent medical certificate was issued September 6, 1996.
According to Weather Data Inc., 14 inches of rain fell at the Washington Dulles International Airport, 14 miles north of HEF, between July 14 and September 27, 2000.
The weather in Lexington, Kentucky, at the time of the accident was clear skies with variable winds at 6 knots.
The Associate Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Kentucky performed an autopsy on September 28, 2000. The Medical Examiner's report stated the cause of death was cardiac dysrythmia due to hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and mitral valve disease. According to the report, the injuries suffered in the crash resulted in "Trauma insignificant to cause death."
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing for the pilot on January 25, 2001. The report indicated high levels of hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller used of the control of moderate to severe pain.