HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On March 16, 2008, at 0525 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182B, Canadian registration C-FFBC, registered to a private owner collided with a swamp and the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Wildwood, Florida, on a private ranch. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Marginal night visual meteorological conditions (MVFR) prevailed and the airplane received substantial damage. The non-instrument rated certificated private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed from Lake Wales Municipal Airport (X07), Lakes Wales, Florida, at 0446. The caretaker of a private ranch located the wreckage of the airplane at 0845 on March 16, 2008.
A witness who lives about 10 statute miles from the accident site stated he was at his home and heard an airplane approaching. He looked out the window towards the west, the ceilings were between 800 to 1,000 feet, and it was dark with very little ambient light. He observed the airplane flying from the west to the east, and the navigation and landing lights were on. The airplane appeared to be near the base of the clouds, and it passed north of his house and started a turn to the north in the vicinity of Lake Panasoffkee. The airplane disappeared from view and he did not hear any change in engine noise.
The son of the pilot stated his father called him on the evening of March 15, 2008, and asked him to meet him at the Virginia Highlands Airport (VJI), Abingdon, Virginia at 10:00 on March 16, 2008. The pilot, passenger, and the son planned on attending a NASCAR race at Bristol, Tennessee.
Review of radar data from Fort Green, Florida, Air Route Surveillance Radar revealed the airplane departed X07 at 0446. The flight altitude from 0446:40 to 05:11:38 varied from 800 feet to a high of 2,400 feet. At 05:12: 14, the airplane was at 2,000 feet and made a left turn and turned back to the right at 05:12:38 and no altitude was reported. The airplane was observed on radar to turn to the left, and back to the right four different times. The last radar contact with the airplane was at 05:20:13, 20 statute miles from the accident site.
The pilot, age 68, held a Canadian private pilot certificate issued on July 16, 2003, with remarks "all single pilot non-high performance, single and multi-engine land and sea aeroplanes night." The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a private pilot certificate on March 9, 2004, with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane single engine sea, and airplane multiengine land based on his foreign pilot certificate. The pilot did not hold an instrument rating. The pilot was issued a Canada Medical Category 3 Certificate on May 27, 2003. The pilot did not have a current FAA medical certificate. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed the pilot had 2,513.6 total hours, 209.5 hours were in the Cessna 182B, of which 191 hours were as pilot-in-command. The pilot had 37.3 hours of night flight, of which 34.9 hours were as pilot-in-command. The pilot's first flight in a Cessna 182 was on December 30, 2003. The pilot's last night flight was on March 11, 2008, for .2 hours in the Cessna 182. The pilot flew a total of 11.3 hours of night flight in 2007. The last night flight in 2007 was on October 15, 2007. The pilot's last instrument dual flight was on March 6, 1981, and the pilot's last simulated instrument flight was on December 1, 2003. The pilot had flown 17.3 hours in the last 90 days, and 7 hours in the last 30 days. The pilot logged 40 minutes of flight time the day before the accident and attended an FAA Aviation Seaplane Safety Seminar at Lakeland, Florida.
The Cessna 182B is a four place airplane with a fixed tricycle landing gear, serial number 51657, manufactured in 1959. The airplane was imported to Canada and registered in Canada on October 27, 2005. A Continental O-470-L, 230 horsepower horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine powers the airplane. Review of the Canadian Aircraft Journey Log revealed the last annual was conducted on September 8, 2007, and the total airtime since manufacture time on September 8, 2007, was 3,164.9 hours. The total airtime since manufacture as of March 5, 2008, was 3,202.7 hours. The tachometer at the crash site displayed 3205.3 hours. A pitot static system check was carried out in accordance with Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) on August 25, 2005. A friend of the pilot stated the airplane was "topped off" with fuel the night before the accident at Sebring, Florida; however the Fixed Base Operator at Sebring stated the airplane was not topped off with fuel.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 0500 depicted a low-pressure system with a central pressure of 997 millibars off the North Carolina coast with a cold front extending southwestward from the low across the coastal section of the Carolinas into extreme southeast Georgia, northern Florida, and into the Gulf of Mexico. The accident site was located south of the cold front, in the warm air sector with westerly winds of 10 knots gusting to 15 knots.
Lake Wales did not have weather reporting. The closest reporting station to X07 at the time of departure was Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida, located 8 miles west of Lake Wales, Florida. The 0435 surface weather observation at BOW was: wind 240 degrees at 11 knots, visibility 9 miles, scattered clouds at 1,600 feet, scattered, scattered clouds at 2,300 feet, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 22 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting 29.92 inches of mercury.
The Ocala International Airport-Jim Taylor Field (OCF), Ocala, Florida, surface weather observation taken at 0455 was: wind 280 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 14 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken ceiling at 1,200 feet, overcast ceiling at 2,200 feet, temperature 22 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 19 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting 29.89 inches of mercury.
Leesburg International Airport (LEE), Leesburg, Florida, located approximately 12 miles east of the accident site had an automated surface observation system (ASOS) and also reported MVFR conditions: The LEE 0553 surface weather observation was: no wind reported, visibility 8 miles, ceiling broken at 1,800 feet, ceiling broken at 2,300 feet, ceiling overcast at 3,000 feet, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 20 degrees Celsius and altimeter setting 29.91inches of mercury.
The NWS issued a forecast at 0120 for the Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV), Gainesville, Florida, which was located 45 miles north of the accident site. The forecast was for 0200 to 0600 and predicted winds from 230 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 24 knots, visibility better than 6 miles, scattered clouds at 1,500 feet, ceiling broken at 2,500 feet, wind shear at 1,000 feet with wind from 230 degrees at 45 knots. During this same time frame, the forecast stated that the cloud ceiling could drop temporarily to 1,500 feet broken.
The NWS WSR88D radar detected no weather echoes in the hour surrounding the period of the accident. The radar showed a band of fine echoes possible associated with a gust front or gravity wave moving southward across central Florida surrounding the period.
The U.S. Naval Observatory sun and moon data for the accident site revealed moonset was at 0421. Civil twilight began at 0713 with sunrise at 0736. At the time of the accident the moon and sun were more than 11-degrees below the horizon.
The Duty Officer for the Direct Users Access Terminal System (DUATS) reported no contact with the pilot of C-FFBC on March 14, 2008, through March 16, 2008.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with a swamp, and a tree-lined open field in a nose low right wing down attitude on a heading of 360 degrees magnetic. (All measurements were obtained from global positioning system (GPS) and correlated with mapping software.) The right cabin door was separated from the fuselage and one propeller blade was separated from the propeller hub. The airplane continued down the crash debris line (CDL) and the right elevator and fragments of the right aileron were located 25 feet down the CDL. The left aileron and outboard section of the left wing was located 48 feet down the CDL and 28 feet to the right of the CDL. Browning of vegetation was present on a 45-degree angle to the right of the CDL and forward up to the left wing fuel cell and left flap assembly. The right upper wing skin for the right fuel cell, and the cabin center roof section was located in the browning area. The nose wheel, right main landing gear, and lower left engine cowling separated and was located 65 feet down the CDL and 10 feet to the left of the CDL The leading edge of the left wing with pitot static tube, right upper engine cowling, left wing lift strut assembly and remaining propeller blade was located 112 feet down the CDL and 20 feet to the right of the CDL. The left cabin door and fragments of the left aileron was located 173 feet down the CDL and 16 feet to the right of the CDL. The rear bench seat was located about 20 feet forward of the left cabin door. Miscellaneous instruments and components were scattered through out the debris field prior to the main wreckage. The main wreckage was located right side up 219 feet down the CDL on a heading of 034 degrees magnetic. The right lower wing skin and right flap assembly was located adjacent to the right side of the fuselage. The engine assembly was separated from the firewall and engine mounts. The engine was located inverted adjacent to the left side of the baggage compartment door. The passenger was located 256 feet down the CDL and 12 feet to the left of the CDL. The pilot was located 274 feet down the CDL and 23 feet to the right of the CDL. The CDL was 219 feet in length.
Examination of the airframe, flight controls, engine assembly, and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The District Five Medical Examiner at Leesburg conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot, on March 17, 2008. The cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed. No ethanol was detected in the liver or muscle. The specimens were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
The District Five Medical Examiner at Leesburg conducted a postmortem examination of the passenger, on March 17, 2008. The cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the passenger. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed. No ethanol was detected in the liver or muscle. The specimens were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
The pilot filled out a hand written flight plan for accident flight on Kawartha Metal Corp. stationary indicating his route of flight on the day of the accident.