Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Government advice sometimes is good for everyone, including government

Sections of the right-wing front and rear spars and skin were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination of the fracture surfaces. The features and deformation patterns were consistent with overstress fractures at all locations. No indications of preexisting cracking from fatigue or corrosion were uncovered.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's inadvertent encounter with an unexpected intense rainshower with severe turbulence at night.

Cessna 182R
On January 17, 2010 at about 4:22 p.m., a Cessna 182R crashed in mountainous terrain nine miles northwest of Corvallis, Ore. The airplane was operated by the U.S. Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service. The commercial pilot and passenger were killed. The flight originated at Newport Municipal Airport, Newport, Ore., about 4:00.

The airplane had completed a wildlife survey around Olympia, Wash. The airplane landed at Newport Municipal Airport for fuel. The pilot phoned his girlfriend, told her that there was a break in the weather, and that he was having trouble contacting Flight Service. He told her they were going to fly to Corvallis, 38 miles away, and if she had not heard from him by 5:00, to call the FAA.

At 6:33, the airplane was reported overdue, and search efforts began. The wreckage was found in terrain at about 1,500 feet MSL. Radar indicated the airplane had been cruising at about 2,900 feet MSL and was following a highway. It made a gradual descent.

Witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site at the time of the accident reported hearing thunder. A pilot who landed at Corvallis approximately 90 minutes before the accident reported the coastal range and foothills were "totally obscured in mist and low cloud." The pilot couldn't identify the base of the overcast layer above the airplane; however, he estimated the scattered layer beneath the airplane to have bases of 650 feet with tops near 800 feet. The pilot also indicated that light mist and drizzle were in the area, and that rain began soon after he landed at Corvallis.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while operating into a known area of mountain obscuration due to low clouds, precipitation and mist.


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