On Monday, October 16, 2000, at approximately 7:33 p.m. (CDT) a Cessna 335, N8354N, carrying Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, his aide and piloted by his son, crashed 10 miles northwest of Hillsboro, Missouri. All three persons on the aircraft were killed. This advisory contains an update of the factual information developed to date by the NTSB's investigation. No analysis of cause will be determined or discussed until the release of the Board's final report which is expected this summer.
Two additional investigative groups Human Performance and Aircraft Performance, have been added to the initial five groups: Structures, Systems, Weather, Operations and Air Traffic Control. Based on information from an inspection of the engines and initial impact signatures on the propellers, the Structures Group determined that the engines were producing power at the time of impact.
The Systems Group continues to examine the aircraft's wiring, cables, hydraulics, and cockpit instruments. Initial examinations of the right engine vacuum pump and pieces of the left engine vacuum pump did not produce any conclusive information.
Data gathered by the Weather Group indicate that the National Weather Service scale recorded the precipitation in the area on the evening of the accident as Level 2 precipitation. The National Weather Service scale has levels 1 through 6 with level 6 representing the most extreme weather. Information also indicates a wind shift occurred at approximately 7,000 feet. The aircraft would have been in precipitation throughout the entire flight with the least amount of precipitation being just prior to the accident.
As part of its work, the Operations Group continues working to determine how many hours the pilot had in the aircraft. Based on their review of the pilot's logbook and campaign logs, the pilot had recorded 1,797 total flight hours and 487 hours in the accident aircraft. The pilot logged about 460 total flying hours at night with 157 of the night hours in the Cessna 335. The information also indicates actual instrument flying hours of 87.6 total with 22.4 in the Cessna 335.
The Human Performance group is gathering information about the pilot, including training, flying habits and a history of his activities for the 72 hours prior to the accident. The Aircraft Performance group will work with aerodynamic, radar and weather data to calculate bank angles, airspeed, and rates of climb and descent.
Additional factual updates will be provided as information is developed and a complete factual report will be available on the Board's website, www.ntsb.gov, in several months.