On September 29, 2004, at 0520 central daylight time, a Cessna 208B, N276PM, operated by Planemasters, Ltd., as a cargo airplane, received substantial damage on impact with terrain during takeoff from runway 36 at Decatur Airport, Decatur (DEC), Illinois. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The commercial pilot was uninjured. The 14 CFR Part 135 on-demand cargo flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Quincy Regional Airport-Baldwin Field (UIN), Quincy, Illinois.

The operator stated that the pilot received weather and Notices to Airman (NOTAMs) from the St. Louis Flight Service Station on September 28, 2004, approximately 1915. The pilot stated that there were daily closures of runways 18-36 and 12-30 from 0600-1800. The flight originated in UIN and arrived at DEC at 2115. The pilot then boarded the airplane approximately 0515 the next morning for a return flight to UIN. The pilot completed all his checks and elected to depart runway 36. The winds were light and variable. He advised his intentions on the common traffic advisory and began his take off roll. As he was accelerating, he noticed barricades on the runway. He turned slightly to avoid them. He said that when he decided to abort the takeoff, the airplane hit a ditch,and then the airplane became uncontrollable and skidded to a stop. He then shutdown the airplane.

The pilot provided a written statement to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stating that during the takeoff roll, he saw barricades ahead on the runway and there would not be enough room to stop but there was enough room between two barricades on the left side of the runway to allow the airplane to pass between them and stop. He maneuvered the airplane between the barricades and over a yellow "X" on the runway. Power was reduced to idle as the airplane went through an unseen rut in the runway. The airplane became more difficult to control and began to turn toward an easterly heading and came to a stop.

According to the FAA coordinator, the pilot landed on runway 06 the day before the accident.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a certified flight instructor certificate with an airplane-single engine rating. The operator reported that the pilot had total time of 1,430 hours, of which 34 hours were in the make and model of the accident airplane.

The pilot was involved in a subsequent accident on February 21, 2005, at Bromont Airport, Quebec, Canada, that was investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada under accident number A05Q0024. The pilot was no longer flying for Planemasters, Ltd. at the time of this accident and a different operator was involved in this accident.


U.S. Naval Observatory Sun and Moon data for September 29, 2004, states that civil twilight began at 0624 and sunrise began at 0650 for Decatur, Macon County, Illinois.

The DEC Automated Weather Observing System recorded the following observations:

At 0454, wind 010 degrees at 5 knots; surface visibility 10 statute miles (sm); sky conditions clear; temperature 7 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 30.14 inches of mercury (Hg).

At 0554, wind light and variable at 0 knots; surface visibility 10 sm; sky conditions clear; temperature 7 degrees (C); dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 30.16 inches of Hg.


DEC is served by runways 06-24 (8,496 feet by 150 feet, asphalt concrete grooved), 12-30 (6,799 feet by 150 feet, asphalt concrete grooved), and 18-36 (5,299 feet by 150 feet). Runway 06-24 is equipped with high intensity runway lights and runways 12-30 and 18-36 are equipped with medium intensity runway lights.

The airport control tower hours of operation are from 0600-2200.

The DEC Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS) transcription states on September 27, 2004, from 2157 to September 28, 2004, 2200, follows:

At 2157:42, ATIS, Decatur tower information papa time one zero five four zulu wind zero four zero at one two visibility one zero sky clear temperature one three dew point seven altimeter three zero one eight expect a visual. Altimeter three zero one niner remarks, Decatur NOTAMs runway one eight runway three six closed runway six approach lights out or service.

At 2158, the controller recorded the NOTAM and closing statement on the Automated Surface Observing System.

NOTAMs for DEC runways, as of September 28, 2006, at 0553, were as follows:

Runway 6 approach lighting system out of service
Runway 18/36 closed effective from September 28, 2004, at 0600 to November 12, 2004, at 1800.

The DEC Airport Director stated that runway closure markers and lighted barricades were placed on runway 18-36 ends on September 28, 2006, between 0600 and 0700. The runway lights for runway 18-36 were "locked out, tagged out, and disconnected" between 1000 and 1030. The runway lights on the airfield were physically disconnected in the construction area between 1030 and 1130.


According to the Major Repair and Alteration, FAA Form 337, for the airplane, repairs were made to areas of the fuselage/flight compartment floor, the center fuselage floor structure, and the main landing gear bulkhead structure.


A National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Accident/Incident Report was not received from the pilot following two certified letters requesting the report's submission.

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