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On October 9, 2005, about 1945 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172RG, N6085R, operated by a non-instrument rated private pilot was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Union City, Ohio. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in instrument meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The pilot who was the sole occupant was fatally injured. The flight originated from Coldwater, Michigan, at an unconfirmed time and was en route to Lexington, Kentucky.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He did not have an instrument rating. His most recent third class medical certificate, issued on March 29, 2004, listed no limitations. The pilot reported having 400 hours of total flight experience as of the date of the medical examination.
The airplane was a 1980 Cessna model 172RG, serial number 172RG0077. The airplane was a single-engine high-wing monoplane of predominately aluminum construction. The wings were strut braced and the airplane had a retractable tri-cycle landing gear. A 180 horsepower Lycoming model O-360-F1A6 engine powered the airplane.
Maintenance records indicated that the airplane had accumulated a total of 6,498.5 hours total time in service as of the most recent annual inspection. The records showed that the inspection was performed on June 20, 2005.
Aviation routine weather reports (METAR) were obtained for nearby airports. Those reports and the location of each station relative to the accident site are as follows:
Delaware County Airport-Johnson field (MIE), located 28.6 nautical miles and 261 degrees from the accident site recorded the weather at 1853 as: winds 060 degrees magnetic at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition 2,700 feet broken, 3,200 feet overcast; temperature 14 degrees Celsius; dew point 9 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.00 inches of mercury.
At 1953, the weather at MIE was: winds 070 degrees magnetic at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition 2,700 feet overcast; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 9 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.01 inches of mercury.
James M. Cox-Dayton International Airport (DAY), located 35.6 nautical miles and 134 degrees from the accident site recorded the weather at 1937 as: winds 060 degrees magnetic at 6 knots; visibility 2 statute miles; mist; sky condition 600 feet broken, 1,300 feet overcast; temperature 12 degrees Celsius; dew point 11 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.
At 1956, the weather at DAY was: winds 060 degrees magnetic at 5 knots; visibility 2 statute miles; mist; sky condition 600 feet overcast; temperature 12 degrees Celsius; dew point 11 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.04 inches of mercury.
Anderson Municipal Airport-Darlington Field (AID), located 40.2 nautical miles and 252 degrees from the accident site recorded the weather at 1947 as: winds calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition 3,000 feet overcast; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 10 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.01 inches of mercury.
Lima Allen County Airport (AOH), located 42 nautical miles and 55 degrees from the accident site recorded the weather at 1953 as: winds 040 degrees magnetic at 9 knots gusting to 15 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition 1,300 feet overcast; temperature 12 degrees Celsius; dew point 9 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.
The automated weather observing system located at the Sidney Municipal Airport (I12), located 29 nautical miles and 099 degrees from the accident site recorded the weather at 1945 as: winds 030 degrees magnetic at 5 knots; visibility 2 statute miles; sky condition 400 feet overcast; temperature 13 degrees Celsius; dew point 12 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 29.99 inches of mercury.
The accident airplane was in communication with the MIE air traffic control tower prior to the accident. The following is a partial transcription of the tape recording of those communications. All times are approximate.
N6085R 19:13:55 muncie tower cessna six zero eight five romeo over
MIE 19:14:09 cessna six zero eight nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:14:20 aircraft calling muncie tower say again
N6085R 19:16:29 muncie tower cessna six zero eight five romeo over
MIE 19:16:59 last aircraft calling muncie say again
MIE 19:17:34 traffic calling muncie say again
N6085R 19:18:36 muncie tower over
MIE 19:18:41 calling muncie tower say again
N6085R 19:18:45 I'm ah not sure where I am from muncie my D M E is not showing me this is cessna six zero eight five romeo I'd like to see if you can help me ah locate where I am now
MIE 19:18:59 cessna six zero eight nine romeo how do you hear me
N6085R 19:19:02 ah you're breaking up quite a bit but I think I can understand you
MIE 19:19:08 do you have V O R capability
N6085R 19:19:10 yes
MIE 19:19:11 are you tuned to the muncie V O R one one four four
N6085R 19:19:15 I had it on one fourteen point four and it didn't seem to be it still says nav I'm not picking it up
MIE 19:19:24 you sound like you might be kind of far away what's your altitude
N6085R 19:19:28 it's awfully bad
MIE 19:19:30 what's your altitude
MIE 19:20:21 six zero eight nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:20:33 six zero eight nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:20:48 november six zero eight nine romeo muncie
N6085R 19:20:55 six zero eight five romeo
MIE 19:21:00 six zero eight five romeo squak four zero six two
N6085R 19:21:05 four zero six two should I ident
MIE 19:21:09 yes ident
N6085R 19:21:11 four zero six two
MIE 19:21:49 six zero five nine romeo say your altitude
N6085R 19:21:52 two thousand six hundred
MIE 19:22:31 six zero five nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:23:04 november six zero five nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:23:21 six zero five nine romeo muncie tower
MIE 19:23:34 five nine romeo muncie
N6085R 19:24:41 muncie my D M E now is showing thirty seven point two miles and ah counting down so apparently I am in good shape my V O R is ah better
MIE 19:24:55 six zero five nine romeo if you want help you can contact fort wayne approach on one two seven point two
MIE 19:25:10 five nine romeo do you copy me
MIE 19:28:38 november five nine romeo muncie
MIE 19:28:43 five nine romeo you can contact dayton approach on one three four point four five for assistance
N6085R 19:46:25 muncie tower do you read me
MIE 19:46:32 calling muncie say again
N6085R 19:46:34 this is eight five romeo ah I'm in trouble here and I see I'm twenty eight point six miles from you (unintelligible)
MIE 19:46:45 eight five romeo suggest you contact fort wayne approach on one two seven point two
N6085R 19:46:51 you're breaking up pretty bad
MIE 19:46:54 contact fort wayne on one two seven point two
N6085R 19:46:57 thank you sir one two seven point two
No further transmissions were received from the accident airplane.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The FAA and a representative of the aircraft manufacturer conducted an on-scene investigation. A global positioning system receiver was used to determine the accident site coordinates as 40-degrees, 18-minutes, 49-seconds north latitude, 84-degrees, 46-minutes, 40-seconds west longitude at an elevation was 1,085 feet above sea level.
The airplane came to rest in a harvested agricultural field. All of the major airframe components and flight control surfaces were identified at the accident site. The right wing was located the farthest from the initial impact point (272 feet). The forward portion of the pitot tube and a red lens material consistent with the left navigation light lens were found within the initial impact ground scar.
The fuselage was fragmented and burned from the firewall aft to the tail surfaces. The horizontal and vertical tail surfaces remained attached to the aft fuselage. The elevators and rudder remained attached to the horizontal and vertical stabilizers respectively. The left wing was located within the main wreckage and exhibited significant crushing and fire damage. The right wing was separated from the airplane and remained substantially intact. Portions of the right flap and right aileron remained attached to the wing.
One of the propeller blades was found within the initial impact crater. The other propeller blade remained attached to the propeller hub. The crankshaft flange was separated from the engine and remained attached to the propeller hub. Both propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratching. One blade exhibited S-shaped bending along its length and leading edge gouges. The other blade exhibited a slight forward bend and leading edge abrasion.
External examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a catastrophic failure of the engine. Examination of the spark plugs revealed no evidence of fouling or other abnormalities. The engine could not be rotated by hand.
Examination of the vacuum pump revealed that the vacuum pump core had fractured into several pieces. The vanes remained intact. No indication of a pre-impact malfunction was evident. The vacuum operated directional gyro had evidence of rotational scoring on both its core and housing.
Examination of the control system revealed no breaks of the control cable attachment points. Examination of the flap mechanism confirmed that the flaps were in the retracted position. The landing gear selector was found in the up position.
No evidence of a pre-impact failure of the airplane or its systems was found during the on-scene investigation.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Montgomery County Ohio Coroner's Office.
A Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report prepared by the FAA listed the following findings:
31 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Muscle
NO ETHANOL detected in Brain
1 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-BUTANOL detected in Muscle
-The ethanol found in this case is from sources other than ingestion.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
A portable GPS unit was found within the accident wreckage. The unit was identified as a Garmin GPSmap 195, serial number 51251177. The unit was shipped to the manufacturer to attempt to extract stored flight data. According to a report from the manufacturer, the data could not be retrieved due to the damage the unit had received.
The aircraft owner was contacted during the course of the investigation. He indicated that he had known and had learned to fly with the accident pilot. He also revealed that he had been on board the airplane until its arrival in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was asked if the accident pilot had received a weather briefing prior to departing Battle Creek to which he answered no. Further questioning about the accident pilot's knowledge relating to in-flight weather and radar services revealed that the accident pilot did not use these services.
An inquiry of Flight Service Station (FSS) and Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS) records revealed no records of a flight plan or weather briefing related to the accident airplane.
A fueling record from a fixed base operator at the Brach County Memorial Airport in Coldwater, Michigan, indicated that N6085R was fueled with 47.49 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline at 1823 local time on October 9, 2005.
The FAA and Cessna Aircraft were parties to the investigation.