LAX07LA140
LAX07LA140

On April 29, 2007, at 0946 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182Q single engine airplane, N97287, was destroyed when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 1 mile offshore from Carlsbad, California. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The private pilot and two passengers sustained fatal injuries. The cross-country personal flight departed McClellan-Palomar Airport (CRQ), Carlsbad, at 0943, with a planned destination of Phoenix, Arizona.

A review of the radio communications between CRQ air traffic control tower (ATCT) controllers and the pilot revealed CRQ ATCT cleared the pilot for takeoff. Shortly after takeoff, they gave him a frequency change, and he reported to the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SCT TRACON). At 0944, SCT TRACON advised the pilot to climb and maintain 5,000 feet, turn to a heading of 060 degrees, and proceed direct to the Julian very high frequency omni-directional radio range tactical air navigation aid (VORTAC). The pilot acknowledged the controller's instruction. At 0946, SCT TRACON asked, "Skylane two eight seven, uh, what are you doing?" The pilot did not acknowledge the controllers inquiry and no further communications were received by SCT TRACON from the pilot.

Cellular telephone text messaging records revealed one of the passengers texted the following excerpts to an acquaintance prior to and during the accident flight: "We are flying by instrument. Ocean fog. Storms coming to AZ. Should be bumpy. My phone still works up here. It's pure clouds. Just white."

Witnesses on a fishing boat, about 1.5 miles offshore of Carlsbad, reported seeing the airplane coming out of the overcast cloud layer in a steep nose down attitude just before impacting the ocean. The global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the primary wreckage were 33 degrees 06.11 minutes north latitude and 117 degrees 21.43 minutes west longitude. The water depth at the accident site was approximately 300 feet. The two passengers were recovered from the water; the pilot and airplane were not recovered.

The closest official weather observation station was at CRQ, and the elevation of the weather observation station was 331 feet msl (mean sea level). An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for CRQ was issued at 0953, and reported the wind was calm; visibility 4 statute miles; an overcast cloud layer at 700 feet and haze; temperature 15 degrees Celsius; dew point 12 degrees Celsius; and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of Mercury. The CRQ air traffic controllers reported that the cloud layer tops were 2,000 feet at the time of the accident.

The pilot, age 70, held a private pilot certificate with single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The private pilot certificate was issued in 1982, and the instrument rating was issued in 1986. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on January 2, 2007, with a restriction for corrective lenses. According to the pilot's medical certificate application, he had accumulated 1,975 total flight hours, and 0 hours in the preceding 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not located.

According to acquaintances of the pilot, he had recently began to get into flying again. The pilot conducted a couple of "refresher" flights in February 2007. It was unknown how much flight time the pilot had accumulated since February.

The 1979-model Cessna 182Q, serial number 18267043, was a single engine, high wing, fixed tri-cycle landing gear, semi-monocoque design airplane. The airplane was powered by a six-cylinder Continental O-470-4 engine, serial number 286686R, rated at 225 horsepower. The airplane was configured to carry a maximum of four occupants. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed the airplane underwent it's most recent annual inspection on September 27, 2006, at a total airframe time of 3,137 hours. No subsequent maintenance entries were noted in the aircraft logbooks.

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