Cessna 182 Skylane
2 Minor, 1 Uninjured
Blue Earth, Minnesota
The pilot reported that, while approaching the destination airport in night, marginal visual meteorological conditions, he turned on the pilot-controlled runway lights. He added that he began a descent to the runway without observing the runway lights or airport and encountered “ground fog” about 200 to 300 ft. above ground level (AGL). He further added that he continued the descent to the runway while referencing the navigational moving map and GPS altitude on his electronic flight bag (EFB) application ForeFlight. Subsequently, while in a left turn, the airplane impacted terrain about 1 nautical mile south of the runway.
The left wing, firewall, and fuselage sustained substantial damage.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He added that, while en route, he reset his airplane-installed barometric pressure altimeter to the GPS altitude indicated on his EFB, which resulted in a “300 ft. error.”
An automated weather observing station, about 14 nautical miles west of the accident airport, recorded visibility at 2 1/2 statute miles, light rain, mist, and an overcast cloud ceiling at 300 ft. AGL.
Probably Cause: The pilot’s decision to continue the night, visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain while on final approach. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s improper use of an electronic flight bag.
Bellanca 7ECA Citabria
Moss Hill, Texas
The private pilot and a passenger were conducting a local flight and performing aerobatics. Witnesses observed the pilot conducting “flybys” and “tricks” in the area. One witness reported observing the airplane complete “flips and spins” for about 10 minutes before the accident. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left and entered a near-vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane then impacted the river. A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction.
According to a friend, the pilot was competent in spins and had received instruction in aerobatic maneuvers. However, given the lack of a formal logbook training record with respect to aerobatics, the investigation could not determine the pilot’s level of proficiency in such maneuvers.
Toxicological testing on the pilot was positive for cocaine and its metabolites; cocaethylene, a metabolite formed when cocaine is ingested with alcohol; and levamisole, a drug commonly used to “cut” street cocaine, in urine. Cavity blood was positive for methamphetamine and its metabolites. The absence of cocaine in the pilot’s blood suggested distant usage. Accordingly, the acute effects of the drug had likely dissipated. The level of methamphetamine in the pilot’s blood sample was low. As a result, the presence of any residual effects of the drug could not be determined. Based on the available information, the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot was impaired, if at all, at the time of the accident.
Probably Cause: The pilot’s loss of control attempting to recover from a low-level aerobatic maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to attempt the low-level maneuver which significantly reduced any margin for error.
North American SNJ-5 Texan
The pilot of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll out with the tailwheel down, the tail of the airplane lifted back into the air, at that time he attempted to abort the landing. The pilot further reported that when the airplane became airborne the left wing dropped, then the right, both of which he countered. Subsequently, the left wing dropped again and struck the ground. The airplane exited the runway to the left and came to rest on its nose. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and aileron.
After the accident, witnesses reported to the pilot that a dust devil had touched down in front of the airplane during the landing.
The pilot reported that there were no pre impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s inability to compensate for a dust devil during an aborted landing, which resulted in the left wing contacting the ground, a runway excursion, and the airplane coming to rest in a nose-down attitude.