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On June 7, 2007, about 0920 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 210-5 (205), N8308Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain during cruise flight near Quilcene, Washington. The non-instrument rated private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of takeoff and a flight plan was not filed for the personal cross-country flight, which was operated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed the Lopez Island Airport (S21), Lopez Island, Washington, about 0855, with its destination reported as the Madera Municipal Airport (MAE), Madera, California. ("Unless otherwise noted, all times in this report are PACIFIC DAYLIGHT based on a 24-hour clock.")
On the evening prior to the day of the accident, the pilot contacted the Seattle, Washington Flight Service Station (FSS) requesting a weather briefing for the next day's flight. The briefer revealed that marginal visual flight rule (MVFR) conditions could be expected on the morning of the flight, with conditions improving later in the day.
About 0733 on the morning of the accident, the pilot contacted the Seattle FSS wanting to know if visual flight rule conditions (VFR) existed along the route of flight. The briefer revealed that an Airman's Meteorological Information report (Airmet) indicated that mountains along the route would occasionally be obscured in clouds, mist and fog, and also advised the pilot of light drizzle between Whidbey Island and Olympia, Washington. The briefer then reported that Paine Field, (located about 30 nautical miles (nm) east of the accident site) was reporting one mile visibility, light rain, mist and a ceiling of 300 feet overcast, with a ceiling variable between 200 feet and 300 feet. The briefer concluded by stating, "So, for the Washington portion of your route, um, temperature, dew point spreads are 0 to 3 degrees...lots of zeros, so very close. Lots of, uh, marginal VFR."
A review of the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control personnel after the pilot departed S21 revealed that at about 0915 the pilot reported to the controller that she was at 1,700 feet. The controller acknowledged the transmission. About 0918 the controller issued the pilot a frequency change, which the pilot acknowledged. The pilot subsequently checked in with the next controller, stating, "Seattle approach, 08Z with you at 1.9 (1,900 feet)." The controller responded by giving the pilot the current altimeter setting. The pilot replied, "Thank you." About three minutes later, at 0920, the controller transmitted, "N8308Z, radar contact lost." Additional attempts to contract the pilot were unsuccessful.
On the evening of June 7th, after being concerned that the airplane had not arrived at MAE, family members contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) about 2100. Later that evening family members were informed by a local hotel operator that the airplane's occupants were at the hotel; the ALNOT was subsequently cancelled. Early the next morning, June 8th, a family member reported that the airplane's occupants had in fact not arrived at MAE as previously reported, which resulted in the FAA reissuing the ALNOT about 0930.
About 1300 on the afternoon of June 8th, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) search and rescue personnel located the airplane in mountainous terrain about 2.5 nautical miles south of Quilcene, Washington. The remote location and inclement weather precluded recovery of the airplane until June 19th.
A review of FAA records revealed that the pilot, age 64, possessed a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land. The pilot also possessed a third-class FAA medical certificate with the limitation that the pilot "must wear corrective lenses." On the application for the medical certificate, dated May 18, 2007, the pilot reported that her total flight time to date was 816 hours, with 15 hours flown in the past 6 months.
The 1963-model high-wing airplane was equipped with a 285-horsepower Teledyne Continental IO-520 series engine and a three-bladed, constant-speed propeller. The engine received a top overhaul on July 9, 1997, at a tachometer (tach) time of 2,736.6 hours. The most recent annual inspection performed on the engine and airframe was conducted on October 2, 2006, at a tach time of 3,161.8 hours. A review of maintenance records failed to reveal any uncorrected maintenance discrepancies.
On June 7th at 0345, an amended Aviation Area Forecast was issued by the Aviation Weather Center at Kansas City, Missouri. The amendment referenced Airmet Sierra for instrument flight rule (IFR) conditions and mountain obscuration, with the outlook valid until 2200. At 0745, Airmet Sierra update 2 was issued for IFR and mountain obscuration, valid until 1400. The area covered, which encompassed the accident site, indicated mountain obscuration by clouds, precipitation, mist and fog, with conditions continuing beyond 1400 through 2000.
In a written statement, a pilot who was flying from Renton, Washington to Roach Harbor, Washington (located about 60 miles north-northwest of the accident site), reported having to divert to Bremerton, Washington due to fog and low clouds in the area of the accident site. The pilot stated, "At no time did I see the Olympic mountains or Quilcene due to the 'The Wall of Fog' on the first and second time past that area. It appears to me that the crash site would have been IFR till at least noon that day, if not longer."
At 0915, the weather reporting facility at the Bremerton National Airport (PWT), Bremerton, Washington, located 17 nautical miles (nm) south-southeast from the accident site, reported in part, wind calm, visibility, 10 miles, overcast clouds at 1,900 feet.
At 0918, the weather reporting facility at the Snohomish County (Paine Field) Airport (PAE), Everett, Washington, located 30 nm east of the accident site, issued a special report. In part the report revealed visibility 3 miles, mist, broken clouds at 200 feet, overcast clouds at 700 feet. The remarks section indicated that the rain ended at 0855.
At 0925, a special observation issued by PAE reported in part, visibility 1 1/2 miles, mist, overcast clouds at 200 feet. The remarks section indicated that rain ended at 0855, and that the ceiling was variable from 100 feet to 600 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An initial examination of the accident site on June 8th by WSDOT search and rescue personnel revealed that the airplane had come to rest in a remote area of steep mountainous terrain. The location was about 2.5 miles south-southwest of Quilcene, Washington, at an elevation of 1,959 feet mean sea level (msl), and about 1.25 miles southeast of the summit of Mount Walker, elevation 2,804 feet msl. The beginning of the debris path, about 300 feet in length, was evidenced by the topping of several trees, estimated to be about 80 feet high, at a shallow descent angle and on a southerly heading.
The main cabin area, empennage and engine were located about 134 feet south of the first impact point. The right wing, the wing strut and flap, and the right landing gear and wheel located 108 feet west of the initial impact point, while the left outer wing panel and left main cabin door were located about 155 feet southwest of the point of initial impact.
All airplane components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site during the initial assessment of the wreckage, including the three-bladed propeller. However, during the recovery process the propeller was not located, and as of date, the propeller has not been recovered.
A post-recovery examination confirmed flight control continuity. No pre-impact anomalies with the airframe or engine were noted which would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLIGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot on June 10, 2007, by the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, Port Townsend, Washington. The cause of death was listed at "multiple blunt force trauma."
The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. The report stated no carbon monoxide or cyanide detected in the blood, no ethanol detected in the vitreous, ephedrine was detected in the blood, pseudoephedrine detected in the blood, and 5.05 ug/ml acetaminophen was detected in the blood.