NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


UPDATE ON THREE NTSB REGIONAL AVIATION INVESTIGATONS

April 27, 2006

The following advisory contains factual updates on three National Transportation Safety Board regional office investigations of recent crashes of general aviation aircraft. All flights were conducted under FAR Part 91 and all pilots had filed instrument flight plans. Altitudes are given in mean sea level (msl). Heber City, Utah, April 17, 2006

On April 17, at 10:26 am MDT, a Cessna T310R, N289WB, was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain 15 nautical miles east of Heber City, Utah. A localized post impact fire ensued. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The cross-country flight departed Billings, Montana at approximately 7:30 am, and was en route to Cedar City, Utah.

At 10:24 am, approximately 2 minutes before the crash, the pilot reported to Salt Lake City (SLC) Center that his left engine had lost manifold pressure, and that he required a lower altitude. SLC Center cleared the pilot to descend from 16,000 feet to 14,000 feet. Recorded radar data depicts the aircraft reversing course from a southerly track to a northerly track. At 10:25 am, the controller asked the pilot if he had reversed course due to the engine problem and the pilot acknowledged in the affirmative. The controller assigned the pilot another frequency and the pilot acknowledged this transmission. No further transmissions were made from the pilot on either frequency and radar contact was lost at 10:26 am, at an altitude of 11,400 feet.

The airplane was located on April 18 at approximately 4:30 pm, in the Uinta National Forest. The airplane impacted sloping, forested, snow-covered terrain, at an elevation of 9,300 feet. The wreckage distribution was consistent with a high speed, nose low impact. The left engine and portions of the empennage, fuselage, and left wing were recovered from 8 feet of snow and relocated to a hangar. The remainder of the wreckage, to include the right engine, both propeller assemblies, and the right wing, remains under 8 to 10 feet of snow and will be recovered as soon as conditions permit.

The closest official weather observation station was Heber Valley Municipal Airport, Heber City, Utah, located 15 nm west of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 5,637 feet. The routine aviation weather report, issued at 10:55 am, reported winds 010 degrees at 6 knots, gusting 16 knots; visibility, 1 statute mile, light snow; sky condition, 600 feet overcast; temperature 2 degrees Celsius (C); dewpoint, 0 degrees C; altimeter, 29.71 inches.

The investigator-in-charge for this accident is Jennifer Kaiser of the Central Mountain Regional Office in Denver, Colorado. She is being assisted by representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors. The NTSB identification number for this investigation is DEN06FA065.

Ludville, Georgia, April 19, 2006

On April 19, at approximately 11:10 am EDT, a Cessna 210A, N6579X, rapidly descended into remote mountainous terrain near Ludville, Georgia, after entering an area of thunderstorms. The pilot, well-known test pilot A. Scott Crossfield, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. The accident flight departed Prattville - Grouby Field Airport, Prattville, Alabama, at 10:05, and was en route to Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field Airport, Manassas, Virginia.

At 10:18 am, the pilot checked-in with Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and was subsequently handled by four sectors. The accident airplane was cleared to 11,000 feet. The pilot was not issued weather advisories or related SIGMETS, according to Atlanta ARTCC voice communications. At 11:09:28 am, the pilot asked to deviate to the south due to weather. Atlanta ARTCC approved the turn to the south, but radar contact was lost at 11:10:02 am at 5,500 feet. Recorded radar data indicate that the accident airplane entered a level 6 thunderstorm prior to the loss of radar contact.

The airplane impacted about 3.3 nautical miles northwest of Ludville, Georgia, in rugged wooded terrain. The associated debris was located in two general areas, situated about 1 mile apart from each other. The wreckage distribution was consistent with a low altitude in-flight breakup.

The main wreckage was situated in a four-foot deep crater. There was limited damage to the overhead tree canopy, consistent with a near vertical descent path. The main wreckage consisted of the cockpit, engine, propeller, left and right main wing spars, nose and main landing gear, left and right flap, and portions of the empennage. The second area of wreckage consisted of portions of the left and right wing leading edges, the upper portion of the vertical stabilizer leading edge and tip rib, a small section of aileron and the left cabin door. The two ailerons and the outboard portion of the right elevator were not recovered during the on-scene investigation. Two of the three propeller blades have been recovered, both of which exhibit chordwise scratches and blade twist. All four corners of the airplane have been located; cockpit/engine, left wing, empennage, right wing, and fuselage. The major airframe components, engine, and recovered propeller blades were transported to a local Department of Transportation accident reconstruction yard.

A two-dimensional wreckage layout confirmed flight control cable circuit continuity for ailerons, elevators, and rudder. The flaps and landing gear were fully retracted. Functional testing and disassembly of the wet vacuum pump showed no evidence of pre-impact failure. No gyros instruments were found intact. No liberated gyros were found at the accident site. The on-scene investigation did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies that would have prevented the normal operation of the airplane or its related systems.

The investigator-in-charge for this accident is Todd Fox of the North Central Regional Office in West Chicago, Illinois. Assisting him in the investigation are the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Continental Engines. The NTSB identification number for this investigation is CHI06MA115.

Bloomington, Indiana, April 20, 2006

On April 20, at about 11:45 pm EDT, a Cessna U206G, N120HS, piloted by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain while on approach to runway 35 at the Monroe County Airport (BMG), near Bloomington, Indiana. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from the Purdue University Airport, near Lafayette, Indiana, about 10:45.

The airplane was flying on the instrument landing system (ILS) runway 35 approach. About 11:37 pm, the pilot made an advisory radio call that the flight was six miles south of BMG and inbound for runway 35. About 11:43 pm, the controller from the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field air traffic control tower, near Terre Haute, Indiana, advised the flight of the BMG common traffic advisory frequency and the flight responded with "Thank you sir." No further communication was recorded with the accident flight.

At 11:40 pm, the recorded weather at BMG was: Wind 230 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 1 statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 100 feet; temperature 17 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

At about 11:45 pm, the Monroe County Sheriff responded to telephone calls of a possible airplane crash. About 4:00 the following morning, the wreckage was located in a wooded area about one-half mile from the approach end of runway 35. The airplane came to rest inverted on an approximate 180-degree magnetic heading. Broken tree branches were observed. The engine was found about three feet below the surface. The propeller hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft propeller flange. The propeller blades separated from their hub. One blade exhibited forward bending and leading edge deformation. All of the blades exhibited chordwise abrasion.

An on-scene examination of the wreckage was conducted. Flight control cables were traced. All breaks in cables were consistent with overload. Flight control continuity was established from the cabin area to all flight control surfaces. The engine's control cables were traced from the cabin to the engine and engine control continuity was established. A blue liquid consistent with 100 low lead aviation gasoline was observed in the left tank.

The wreckage was relocated for a detailed examination and wreckage layout. The on-scene investigation did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies with the aircraft.

The investigator-in-charge for this accident is Ed Malinowski of the North Central Regional Office in West Chicago, Illinois. Assisting him in the investigation are the FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors. The NTSB identification number for this investigation is CHI06FA117.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams
202-314-6100
williat@ntsb.gov

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.