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On October 31, 2002, at 1105 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182S, N7099L, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Accident, Maryland. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that originated at Clermont County Airport (I69), Batavia, Ohio, destined for the Meriden Markham Municipal Airport (MMK), Meriden, Connecticut. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the pilot was attending initial instrument flight training at I69 during the previous 2 weeks. Unable to complete the training, the pilot elected to return home.
In preparation for the flight to MMK, the pilot obtained a weather briefing from an automated flight service station (AFSS), on October 29, 30, and 31, 2002.
Witnesses observed the airplane depart I69 about 0900 on October 31, 2002. The witnesses also stated that the airplane was filled to capacity with 100 LL fuel prior to departure.
A review of air traffic control communications revealed that while en route, the pilot contacted Clarksburg Approach Control at 1040, for flight following advisories and information about the cloud ceiling ahead of him. The pilot was advised of the Clarksburg weather, and instructed to contact the Elkins AFSS, for further weather advisories.
Upon contact with the AFSS, the pilot stated that he was in level flight at 3,300 feet, flying in-and-out of the clouds, and encountering light icing conditions. The AFSS specialist advised the pilot of instrument meteorological conditions along the route of flight, mountain obscuration, and icing conditions. The AFSS specialist also recommended that the pilot climb to 6,000 feet, where he could expect visual meteorological conditions. The pilot responded that his flight conditions were "not that bad," and he would remain at 3,300 feet. The weather advisory was terminated, and the pilot re-contacted the radar controller.
The pilot reported back on the approach frequency, and at 1056, he stated to the controller that he needed to climb because he had rime ice. The controller replied that an airplane had reported ice at 7,000 feet, and another had reported cloud tops at 7,400 feet. The pilot then stated that he could not maintain VFR, and had "been in it" for 10-15 minutes. He further stated that he was getting some ice build up, but was "ok" with it.
The controller advised the pilot that the Garrett County Airport (2G4), McHenry, Maryland, was 6 miles northeast, and suggested a heading of 056 degrees to the airport.
About 1059, the approach controller observed the accident airplane's target disappear from the radar screen. No further transmissions were received from the pilot.
A witness who lived less than a 1/4 mile from the accident site stated he was in his driveway when he heard the sound of an airplane engine. When he looked up, he saw an airplane descend out of the clouds, heading south. The airplane's engine was "sputtering," at a very low power setting; however, the propeller was still turning. As the airplane passed overhead, just over the treetops, it made a 180-degree turn to the right, before descending into a field. The witness also stated the weather at the time included a low cloud layer, and mixed precipitation of ice and snow.
The airplane came to rest in a soft, plowed, field about 4 miles east of 2G4.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight, at 41 degrees, 39.34 minutes north longitude, 079 degrees, 16.26 minutes west latitude, at an elevation of 2,718 feet.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA third class medical was issued on April 16, 2002.
According to the pilot's logbook, he had about 837 hours of total flight experience.
Attempts to recover the airplane's logbooks were unsuccessful.
The recorded weather at the Morgantown Municipal Airport, which was located about 13 miles west of 2G4, at 1954, included variable winds at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, a broken cloud layer at 1,000 feet, overcast clouds at 1,400 feet, a temperature of 37 degrees F, dewpoint 35 degrees F, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches Hg.
According to a witness at 2G4, the weather conditions at 2G4, about the time of the accident, were instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and at times "zero zero." The witness also recalled that an airplane flew overhead the airport between 1000 and 1100, and departed the area. He did not observe the airplane and did not hear anyone transmit on the local traffic advisory frequency.
The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on November 1, 2002. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane impacted soft furled terrain, on an upslope of approximately 5 degrees, and came to rest at an elevation of approximately 2,718 feet mean sea level (MSL). The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of approximately 340 degrees magnetic, and was about 106 feet long.
Scattered along the wreckage path were the nose gear assembly, a propeller blade, sections of the nose cowling cover, the left cabin entry door, and an exhaust muffler.
The main wreckage was oriented on a heading of approximately 360 degrees magnetic.
Before the arrival of the Safety Board, the left wing was removed from the main wreckage to aid in rescue procedures. The left wing was placed behind the fuselage. Flight control continuity for the left wing was traced for the aileron and flap. The control cables were broken at the wing root, and the ends exhibited broom strawed fractures. Fuel was observed draining from the wing.
Flight control continuity was established to the cockpit area for the right wing aileron and flap, the rudder, elevator, elevator trim, and autopilot. Fuel was also observed draining from the right wing.
Examination of the flap selector, and the flap surfaces, revealed a retracted setting.
The 3-bladed propeller hub remained attached to the engine. One blade was completely separated from the hub, and located along the debris path. The blade displayed s-bending, chord-wise scratching, and leading edge gouges. The second and third blades were intact, and exhibited s-bending, chord-wise scratching, and leading edge gouges.
The wreckage was recovered and transported to a facility in Clayton, Delaware, where the engine was examined on November 2, 2002.
The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and examined. The electrodes were intact, and appeared light gray in color.
The propeller was rotated by hand, and camshaft and crankshaft continuity was confirmed. Thumb compression was obtained and valve train continuity was confirmed on all cylinders. The magnetos produced current at all leads.
Oil was present throughout the engine, and no metal contamination was observed in the oil or oil filter. The oil pump assembly was intact, and no damage was noted.
Internal examination of each cylinder was conducted using a lighted bore scope. Each cylinder displayed no abnormalities to the valves, top surfaces of each piston, or the cylinder walls.
The fuel manifold was intact, and all six fuel nozzles were securely attached to each cylinder. The injector nozzles were then removed and inspected, and no damage or blockage was observed. The fuel manifold cover was removed, and the rubber diaphragm, valve, and spring were intact.
The engine driven fuel pump and fuel servo sustained impact damage, and could not be tested.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Baltimore, Maryland, performed an autopsy on the pilot, on November 1, 2002.
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.
The airplane wreckage was released on November 2, 2002, to a representative of the owners insurance company.