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On January 17, 2007, at 1944 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182R, N9937H, piloted by a non-instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during cruise flight near Waltman, Wyoming. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to American Industrial Laundry, Inc., Lander, Wyoming, and operated by the pilot. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from the Gillette-Campbell County Airport (GCC) Gillette, Wyoming, at 1819, and was en route to Hunt Field Airport (LND), Lander, Wyoming.
According to a member of the pilot's family, the pilot departed Lander en route to Gillette earlier on the day of the accident. The purpose of the flight was to pick up the passenger at Gillette and return to Lander.
The airplane was equipped with a portable Garmin GPSMAP 396 global positioning system (GPS) receiver. A specialist with the NTSB's Vehicle Recorder Division extracted the data stored in the receiver. A review of the data indicated that the first leg of the flight departed from LND at 1635 and landed at GCC at 1758.
Prior to departure from GCC, the airplane was refueled by a local fixed based operator (FBO) with 36.9 gallons of 100 low lead aviation fuel.
The GPS data indicated that the accident flight departed GCC at 1819. A Google Earth overlay of GPS track log data indicated that the airplane departed GCC to the north and turned left to a southwest heading. Approximately 5 miles southwest of GCC, the airplane executed a left turn to the southeast. The airplane continued in a southeast direction for approximately 1 mile, then made a right turn back to the southwest. Shortly thereafter, the airplane then executed a 180-degree left turn to the northeast back toward GCC. Approximately 1 mile south of GCC, the airplane made a right turn to the south. The airplane continued south along state highway 59 for approximately 10 miles, then made a right turn toward the southwest. From 1922 to 1941, the airplane was headed in a southwesterly direction and the altitude varied between 6,800 and 7,300 feet mean sea level (msl).
The following are the last 15 recorded GPS positions:
Time Altitude Ground Speed Heading
(feet msl) (miles per hour) (degrees True)
1942:08 7,016 140 266
1942:18 6,966 142 260
1942:29 6,942 143 259
1942:40 6,892 144 265
1942:49 6,830 146 264
1943:00 6,794 146 267
1943:14 6,729 146 262
1943:21 6,718 144 260
1943:34 6,685 144 266
1943:42 6,657 140 274
1943:49 6,707 135 266
1943:55 6,740 137 255
1944:00 6,684 147 251
1944:06 6,524 154 260
1944:10 6,455 Not Available Not Available
The last recorded GPS position was at 1944:10, at 42 degrees 59.978 minutes north latitude and 107 degrees 24.867 minutes west longitude.
No communications were received from the airplane by any air traffic control facility during the accident flight.
On January 18, 2007, at 0837, an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued by Casper Flight Service Station for the accident airplane. According to local authorities, at 1131, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) reported they had located a downed aircraft near Waltman, Wyoming. A ground search was initiated by local authorities, and at 1147, the accident airplane was located approximately 40 miles east of Riverton, Wyoming, near Waltman.
The pilot, age 56, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on August 31, 2005, with the limitation, "Must Wear Corrective Lenses." A review of the pilot's insurance records, dated November 9, 2006, indicated the pilot had accumulated 2,950 total flight hours, 2,900 hours in the accident airplane make and model, and 150 hours within the preceding 12 months. The pilot's most recent flight review was conducted on May 10, 2005.
According to a member of the pilot's family, the pilot had been "flying around Wyoming since the early 1980's." The pilot was very familiar with the Lander to Gillette route of flight.
The 1981-model Cessna 182R, serial number 18268126, was a single-engine, high wing, fixed tri-cycle landing gear, semi-monocoque design airplane. The airplane was powered by a normally aspirated, direct drive, air-cooled, horizontally opposed, carburetor equipped, six-cylinder Teledyne Continental Motors O-470-U engine (serial number 286595-R), rated at 230 horsepower, and equipped with a two-blade constant speed propeller. The airplane was configured to carry a maximum of four occupants.
The airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on December 9, 1981, and was certificated for normal category operations. The airplane was registered to the owner on May 5, 1983. A review of the airframe logbook revealed the most recent annual inspection was performed on November 6, 2006, at a total airframe time of 2,094 hours. The engine underwent it's most recent 100-hour inspection on November 6, 2006, at a total time 1,136 hours since major overhaul. At the time of the accident, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 2,116 hours.
Prior to the LND to GCC flight and the accident flight, the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing from a flight service station or Direct User Access Terminal System (DUATS).
At 1753, the GCC weather observation facility reported the wind from 290 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling overcast at 9,000 feet, temperature minus 6 degrees Celsius, dew point minus 10 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of Mercury.
At 1953, the weather observation facility at Casper, Wyoming, located approximately 50 miles east of the accident site, reported the wind from 220 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 5,000 and 6,000 feet, ceiling overcast at 7,500 feet, temperature minus 7 degrees Celsius, dew point minus 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.96 inches of Mercury.
At 1953, the weather observation facility at Riverton, Wyoming, located approximately 40 miles west of the accident site, reported the wind from 230 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 1 statute mile, decreasing snow, mist, vertical visibility 1,400 feet, temperature minus 12 degrees Celsius, dew point minus 14 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of Mercury.
At 1953, the LND weather observation facility, located approximately 50 miles west of the accident site, reported the wind from 170 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 3 statute miles, decreasing snow, few clouds at 2,000 feet, broken clouds at 3,900 feet, ceiling overcast at 4,900 feet, temperature minus 12 degrees Celsius, dew point minus 14 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of Mercury.
According to local authorities, the weather in the area at the time of the accident included snow, high winds, and reduced visibility.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located in snow covered, rolling terrain at 42 degrees 59.97 minutes north latitude and 107 degrees 25.02 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of approximately 6,500 feet. The initial impact point was a ground scar located on the top of a dirt embankment and was consistent with the nose landing gear wheel. Fragmented sections of the right wing tip fairing were located approximately 10 feet forward and to the right of the initial impact point. The airplane wreckage was distributed along a measured magnetic heading of 280 degrees from the initial impact point. The main wreckage came to rest approximately 325 feet from the initial impact point, and consisted of the fuselage, empennage, left and right wings. The engine was separated from the airframe and came to rest approximately 550 feet from the initial impact point. The propeller assembly was separated from the engine crankshaft and was located in the debris path adjacent to the main wreckage. No evidence of fire was noted.
The left wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root. The wing leading edge, outboard of the wing strut, was crushed aft. The aileron and flap remained partially attached to the wing. The right wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root. The wing leading edge was crushed aft, and the main spar was bent forward at mid-span. The aileron remained partially attached, and the outboard 1 foot was separated and located adjacent to the initial impact point. The flap remained attached to the wing. Control continuity to the wings and the position of the flaps could not be determined.
The empennage came to rest inverted and remained attached at the aft cabin bulkhead. The left and right horizontal stabilizers were intact and the elevators remained attached to their respective hinges. The vertical stabilizer was intact and the rudder remained attached to its hinges. Control continuity was established from the empennage control surfaces to the separation points at mid fuselage. The cable separations displayed broomstraw features consistent with overload.
The fuselage and cockpit were destroyed. The left and right doors were separated and exhibited forward to aft crush damage. The two forward seats were separated from their seat rails. The two forward seat belts were found latched and the shoulder harnesses were not attached. The cockpit throttle control was full forward and the mixture control was 1/2 inches aft of the full position.
The engine was separated from the airframe at the firewall. The engine oil sump was crushed. The carburetor was separated from the engine and remained attached to the throttle and mixture cables. The accelerator pump was actuated and a "fine mist of fuel" was noted. The starter, alternator, magnetos and vacuum pump were separated. The vacuum pump was not located.
The propeller assembly was separated at the crankshaft flange. Both propeller blades displayed leading edge gouging, chordwise scratching, and forward twist.
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Natrona County Coroner's Office, Casper, Wyoming, on January 20, 2007, and specimens were retained for toxicological analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Civil Aeromedical Institute's (CAMI) Forensic and Accident Research Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Toxicological tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and all screen substances.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
On February 8, 2007, at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Services, Greeley, Colorado, the airframe and engine were examined. The directional gyro (DG) and attitude indicator (AI) were disassembled to examine the gyro rotors and housings. The DG's rotor was free to move within the housing and radial scoring was noted on the rotor and inner housing. The AI's rotor was free to move within the housing and no evidence of radial scoring was noted on the rotor or inner housing. Examination of the altimeter indicated the Kollsman window setting was 29.89 inches of Mercury.
The engine exhaust system exhibited ductile type crushing and the intake system was separated. Valve and gear train continuity was established during hand rotation of the crankshaft, and thumb compression was noted on all cylinders. Borescope examination of the cylinders exhibited combustion signatures consistent with normal operation.
No anomalies were noted with the airframe and engine.
Parties to the investigation included the FAA Flight Standards District Office, Casper, Wyoming, Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kansas, and Teledyne Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama.
The airplane wreckage was released to the owner's representative on February 8, 2007.