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On February 7, 2002, about 1825 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 525A, N288G, overran the runway and impacted a ravine off the departure end of runway 13 while landing at the Gnoss Field Airport (DVO), Novato, California. The owner/pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed the Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento (SMF), California, about 1730 the day of the accident. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight was scheduled to terminate at Gnoss Field.
The National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) interviewed the pilot. The pilot stated that he had received a full weather brief from the Flight Service Station (FSS) earlier in the day. Prior to departure he called the FSS again and received an abbreviated update. He stated that "the weather was pretty miserable," and it was a "hard IFR flight" from SMF to DVO.
The pilot stated that he was not sure that he would be able to make it into DVO because of the weather. While monitoring Oakland Center he heard an airplane had been cleared to, and had landed at DVO. He heard the pilot of the previous airplane report he had "broken out of it at 1,200 feet."
In the pilot's written statement he started his final descent at GOVLE, and noticed that he needed to descend faster than what he was used to. He activated the speed brakes to aid in the descent. The airplane touched down about 1/3 of the way down the runway. He applied 'ground flaps' and spoilers, and "got on the brakes hard." He stated that there was a light rain at the time, with no visible water puddles on the runway.
The pilot reported that the airplane was not decelerating normally, so he decided to abort the landing. He applied full power for takeoff; however, he forgot to retract the ground flaps and spoilers (which are interconnected on the ground). He stated that the airplane did not liftoff the ground and ran off the departure end of the runway coming to rest in a ditch. He shut the engines down and exited through the emergency door because he was unable to open the main door.
The 1825 DVO AWOS weather observation reported, in part, wind from 230 degrees at 11 knots with gusts to 17 knots.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane on-scene. The airplane landed with a tailwind, and came to rest about 200 feet from the departure end of the runway in a ravine. The nose of the airplane hit the far side of the ravine, and the fuselage section came to rest in the ravine. The FAA inspector stated that the flaps were fully deployed and the spoilers were extended.
According to the Cessna approved flight manual; section IV entitled PERFORMANCE APPRACH AND LANDING: at 10,800 pounds with a 10-knot tailwind and a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius, 3,400 feet of runway length is need to land. With a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, 3,430 feet of runway length is need to land.
The Airport/ Facility Directory, Southwest U. S., indicated runway 13 was 3,300 feet long and 75 feet wide. The runway surface was composed of asphalt.
A staff meteorologist for the Safety Board prepared a factual report, which included the following weather for the destination. The Airport/ Facility Directory, Southwest U. S., indicated that DVO Airport was equipped with an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS)-3.
The closest official weather observation station was DVO. The elevation of the weather observation station was 2 feet msl. A meteorological aviation weather report (METAR) for DVO was issued at 1820. It stated: winds were from 230 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 17 knots; light rain; temperature 13 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 13 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 30.12 inHg.
A METAR for DVO issued at 1840, stated that winds were from 290 degrees at 20 knots, gusting to 27 knots; moderate rain; temperature 12 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 12 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 30.12 inHg.
The next closest official weather observation station was the Napa County Airport (APC), Napa, California, located 14 nautical miles (nm) east of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 33 feet msl.
A METAR for APC issued at 1854, indicated that the winds were from 220 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 24 knots; visibility 2 miles; skies 1,700 feet scattered, ceiling 1,500 feet broken, overcast at 2,900 feet; moderate rain and mist; temperature 12 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 12 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 30.14 inHg.
The next closest official weather observation station was the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California, located 25 nautical miles (nm) northwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 125 feet msl.
A METAR for STS issued at 1854 indicated that the winds were from 270 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies a few clouds at 2,200 feet, ceiling 4,700 feet broken, overcast at 5,500 feet; temperature 11 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 9 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 30.15 inHg.
A cold front existed in the area of the accident location, with marginal VFR and IFR conditions. The cold front passage occurred between 1820 and 1840. Rain showers were also in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. Prior to the accident winds were from 210 degrees. Immediately following the accident the winds were from 290 degrees.
The pilot contacted the Oakland Automated International Flight Service Station (AIFSS) at 1045. He obtained a weather briefing for a test flight to SMF, Marysville, California, SMF, terminating at DVO. The AIFSS briefer provided a weather brief that included Airmets; however, the pilot interrupted the brief before it had been completed. The pilot asked for and received a weather forecast for Truckee, California, for the following day.
The pilot contacted the Rancho Murieta Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at 1641, filed a flight plan, and obtained an abbreviated weather briefing to DVO.
The pilot was cleared for takeoff at 1733 by an SMF Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) controller. He was instructed to contact Sacramento Departure Control at 1734, and reported on frequency at 1735. He was cleared direct for STS and instructed to switch to Travis Approach Control at 1737. The controller for Travis made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the pilot. At 1741, the pilot reported in and instructed the pilot to switch to Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).
The pilot contacted Oakland ARTCC at 1741. He was instructed to track outbound on the approach for DVO and to maintain 6,000 feet. At 1753, the controller advised all aircraft on frequency that the ceiling at DVO was 1,200 feet reported by landing aircraft.
The pilot was directed to descend and maintain 4,000 feet. At 1759, he was cleared for the Global Positioning System (GPS) runway 13 approach to DVO. The controller terminated radar service and instructed the pilot to cancel his flight plan as soon as possible. At 1803, another aircraft (TWY71) was cleared for the GPS runway 13 approach to DVO. At 1805, a report of an ELT signal was made. The controller confirmed that an ELT had activated and cancelled TWY71 approach because N288G (the accident airplane) had not cancelled his flight plan. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the pilot of N288G.
At 1815, a controller at Oakland AIFSS contacted the Glen County Sheriff's Department and requested that they conduct a ramp check at DVO. The controller also asked that the request be expedited as an ELT had been activated, and a pilot in the area had not checked in as required. Between 1820 and 1825, a family member advised the controller that she was speaking to the pilot, who had informed the family member that the airplane had gone off the runway, and he was okay. The controller advised the family member that a sheriff's deputy was already en route to the site.