CHI02FAMS1
CHI02FAMS1

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 9, 2001, at 1809 central standard time, a Cessna R182, N2359C, impacted Lake Michigan about 3.5 nautical miles (nm) east of the lakeshore near Wilmette, Illinois. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 while on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan. The four occupants were fatally injured. The flight departed James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY), Dayton, Ohio, at 1640, and was en route to John H. Batten Airport (RAC), Racine, Wisconsin.

At 0649:50 [hhmm:ss], the pilot telephoned Green Bay Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to request a standard weather briefing and to file a VFR flight plan from RAC to DAY. At 0751:32, the pilot established radio contact with the Green Bay AFSS and activated the flight plan with a reported departure time of 0745. At 0940:26, the pilot established radio contact with Dayton AFSS and canceled the flight plan from RAC to DAY.

The four occupants were reported to have visited the United States Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio, prior to departing on the accident flight.

At 1600:09, the pilot telephoned Dayton AFSS to receive a standard weather briefing and file a VFR flight plan from DAY to RAC. At 1648:46, the pilot established radio contact with Dayton AFSS and activated the flight plan with a reported departure time of 1640.

According to air traffic control communications and aircraft radar track data, the accident airplane [N2359C] approached downtown Chicago from the southeast. At 1753:24, N2359C reported to Chicago Approach being 6 nm southeast of the Chicago Heights VOR and requested flight following to RAC. N2359C was issued a discrete transponder code (5121) and was instructed to fly a 020 degree magnetic heading to avoid entering the Midway class C airspace. At 1802:28, N2359C was instructed to turn northbound, contact Meigs tower, and select a transponder code of 1200.

At 1804:24, N2359C established radio contact with Meigs tower and reported being 5 miles east of the airport flying northbound at 2,800 feet.

At 1805:37, N2359C contacted Chicago Approach and reported being northeast of Meigs at 2,800 feet. Chicago Approach informed N2359C of a Citation that was departing Meigs northbound. N2359C was issued a discrete transponder code (5125) and was told to remain clear of the O'Hare class B airspace. At 1807:24, N2359C was instructed to descend to 2,500 feet and N2359C acknowledged the descent clearance at 1807:30. At 1808:17, Chicago Approach updated the position of the departing Citation and N2359C reported having visual contact with the traffic.

There were no additional radio communications with N2359C.

Between 1808:48 and 1809:20, N2359C descended from 2,400 feet msl to 1,000 feet msl [~400 feet agl]. The average and maximum descent rates were calculated to be about 2,600 feet/min and 4,200 feet/min, respectively.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) began search and rescue operations at 1818 and terminated the operations on December 10, 2001, at 1930. During the USCG search and rescue operations the airplane wreckage and the occupants were not located.

A commercial salvage company located a wreckage debris field on July 31, 2002. The center of the debris field was approximately 1,500 feet east of the last recorded radar track position. The debris field contained airplane components and personal artifacts belonging to the occupants of N2359C.


PERSONNEL INFORMATION

There were four individuals aboard the accident airplane, three of which were certificated pilots. The exact position of each occupant aboard the airplane could not be determined. The pilot-in-command (PIC) was determined by the name listed on the flight plan filed with Dayton AFSS. There were two distinct voices recorded for various transmissions made by N2359C to air traffic control. One of the pilot-rated passengers was a certified flight instructor (CFI) and had previously provided flight instruction to the PIC. The recorded voices were identified as the PIC and CFI. It is unknown if the CFI was providing flight instruction at the time of the accident.

PIC:

The PIC held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multiengine land ratings. The FAA issued his pilot certificate on November 6, 2001.

FAA records indicate his last medical examination was completed on November 28, 2000, and that he was issued a first-class medical certificate with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses." The pilot was colorblind; however, on June 9, 1999, he satisfactory passed an Aviation Signal Light Test and was issued a Statement of Demonstrated Ability Waiver.

The pilot reported his flight time on FAA Form 8710-1 'Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application', dated November 6, 2001. He had a total flight time of 225 hours, of which 23 hours were as PIC. He reported having 216.6 hours in single-engine airplanes and 8.4 hours in multiengine airplanes. No additional pilot records were obtained.

CFI:

The CFI held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land privileges. The CFI additionally had ratings for commercial privileges in single-engine land and sea airplanes, and multiengine sea airplanes. The FAA issued his pilot certificate on October 17, 1986.

The CFI also held a CFI certificate with single-engine airplane, multiengine airplane, and instrument airplane ratings. The FAA issued his CFI certificate on January 20, 2001.

FAA records indicate his last medical examination was completed on August 8, 1995, and that he was issued a second-class medical certificate with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses." The medical certificate expired on August 31, 1997. According to FAA records, the CFI did not apply for any subsequent medical certificates. The 62 year-old CFI had diabetes, a condition that he had declared on several medical applications between 1992 and 1997.

The CFI reported on his last medical certificate application that he had a total flight time of 20,200 hours. No additional pilot records were obtained.


AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a 1978 Cessna R182, serial number R18200160. The Cessna R182 is a single engine, high-wing airplane. The Cessna R182 is equipped with a retractable tricycle landing gear, electrically actuated wing flaps, and is powered by a single reciprocating engine. The fuselage and empennage are of an all-metal semimonocoque design. The metal wings are externally braced and have bladder-type fuel tanks. The airplane was equipped with dual cockpit controls and could accommodate four occupants. The accident airplane had a certified maximum takeoff weight of 3,100 lbs.

The airplane was originally issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate on February 8, 1978, and was certified as a standard category airplane. The airplane was issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate on August 19, 1982, and was reclassified as a restricted category airplane. The airframe had been modified with a wing-strut mounted microwave antenna. According to the certificate's operating limitations, the antenna could be removed and reinstalled by any certificated mechanic or repair station. Depending on its configuration, the airplane was operated in either the normal or restricted category. There was no logbook entry for the removal of the antenna; however, a mechanic reported that the antenna was not installed during the last annual inspection.

According to aircraft maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on July 20, 2001, at 6,656.4 hours since new.

The engine was a 235 horsepower Lycoming O-540-J3C5D, serial number L-20168-40A. The engine was overhauled on September 20, 2001, and was installed on the accident airplane on October 9, 2001. The engine had accumulated 19.1 hours as of the last engine logbook entry, dated November 10, 2001.

The propeller was a two-bladed McCauley B2D34C214-B, hub serial number 850084.


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation station, located at Chicago-Meigs Airport (CGX), recorded the weather as:

At 1745: Wind 190 degrees true at 5 knots; visibility 15 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 02 degrees Celsius; dew point of -06 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.23 inches of mercury.

According to measurements transmitted by a radiosonde balloon launched near Lincoln, Illinois, at 1800, the upper winds between 584 - 4,944 feet msl were:

Altitude (feet msl); Wind direction/speed (degrees true/knots)
584; 180/05
636; 180/05
2,703; 200/09
4,944; 240/10


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The center of the wreckage debris field was positioned at 42-degrees 05-minutes 00.0-seconds north latitude, 87-degrees 36-minutes 40.2-seconds west longitude. The debris field was located approximately 3.5 nm east of the lakeshore near Wilmette, Illinois. The accident site was located approximately 13.5 nm north of Chicago-Meigs Airport.

The debris field was approximately 550 feet square and contained airframe structural components, avionics, engine exhaust components, and personal artifacts for at least two occupants.

The main wreckage was not recovered as of the completion of this factual report. The only components salvaged were the cabin heat muff/shroud, carburetor heat muff, and assorted avionic equipment. The serial numbers for the recovered avionic equipment established that the wreckage was from N2359C.

On November 21, 2002, the recovered engine exhaust components were examined under the direct supervision of a NTSB investigator. No discrepancies were identified to have been present prior to the accident.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Three of the four airplane occupants were recovered on different dates and locations.

The CFI's body was recovered on January 11, 2002, near St. Joseph, Michigan. An autopsy was performed on the recovered remains at the Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, Michigan, on January 12, 2002.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology results for the CFI were:

* No ethanol detected in liver
* No ethanol detected in muscle
* No drugs detected in liver

The PIC's body was recovered on February 16, 2002, near Ganges Township, Michigan. An autopsy was performed on the recovered remains at the Sparrow Regional Laboratories, Lansing, Michigan, on February 18, 2002.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology results for the PIC were:

* 12% carbon monoxide detected in blood
* 37 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in kidney
* 50 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in muscle
* 6 (mg/dL, mg/hg) acetaldehyde detected in kidney
* 3 (mg/dL, mg/hg) acetaldehyde detected in muscle
* 14 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-butanol detected in kidney
* 38 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-butanol detected in muscle
* 4 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-propanol detected in kidney
* 11 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-propanol detected in muscle
* 4 (mg/dL, mg/hg) acetone detected in kidney
* No drugs detected in kidney

A third body (pilot-rated passenger) was recovered on July 26, 2002, near Lake Bluff, Illinois. An autopsy was performed on the recovered remains at the Lake County Coroner's Office, Waukegan, Illinois, on July 27, 2002.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The toxicology results for the PIC were:

* 10 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in kidney
* 12 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in muscle
* 5 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-butanol detected in kidney
* 8 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-butanol detected in muscle
* 2 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-propanol detected in kidney
* 3 (mg/dL, mg/hg) n-propanol detected in muscle
* No drugs detected in kidney

Note: The ethanol found in these samples may potentially be from postmortem ethanol formation and not from the ingestion of ethanol.

The postmortem production of carbon monoxide (CO) in cadavers was discussed in an article included in the Forensic Science International, Volume 32 (1986), pages 67-77. The study concluded that when testing for the presence of CO, fluids samples should not be taken from the cadaver's body cavity, as they may contain elevated CO levels not consistent with those prior to death. The study also concluded that the CO levels were higher in cadavers found in fresh and sea water than those found on land.


ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

The retained exhaust components were returned to the salvage company on December 23, 2003.

Parties to the investigation included the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Company and Textron Lycoming Engines.

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