Friday, April 07, 2006

Accident of the Week

This week's Accident of the Week is very, very strange indeed. Read for yourself, I don't think any commentary from the IFR Pilot is necessary other than "IMSAFE." If you don't pass it, don't go fly.

NTSB Identification: ATL06LA058
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 31, 2006 in Double Springs, AL
Aircraft: Cessna 182T, registration: N2157V
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On March 31, 2006, at 2015 central standard time, a Cessna 182T, N2157V, registered to Wings South Inc., and operated by a private owner as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees while maneuvering in the vicinity of Double Springs, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage. The airline transport rated pilot received serious injuries and was transported to a local area hospital by helicopter. The flight last departed Fletcher Field, Clarksdale, Mississippi, on March 31, 2006, at 1800. The destination airport was Grinder Field, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

According to a lineman at Pine Bluff Aviation, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the pilot departed Pine Bluff at 04:50 PM, on March 31, 2006. An employee at Fletcher Field, Clarksdale, Mississippi, stated he noticed the airplane landing at the airport at 05:45 PM. The pilot was having trouble deciding which exit to take to the ramp. The airplane stopped at each exit until the airplane came to the end of the runway. The airplane was subsequently taxied to the ramp. The pilot shut down the airplane and exited with out turning off the master switch. Upon exiting the airplane the pilot stated, "You know I've been flying for 60 years, and don't tell anybody, but I'm lost. I know I'm in Clarksdale, but I don't know how to get home." The employee having worked at Grinder Field asked the pilot the names of 3 or 4 people. The pilot had a blank look on his face. The pilot informed him that he was almost out of gas and he did not have any maps. The pilot ordered fuel and the employee informed the pilot to go inside and he could obtain a map. The pilot paid for his fuel and returned to the airplane.

The employee stated to the fixed base operator owner (FBO) that, "this guy (the pilot) has something wrong with him, almost like dementia or Alzheimer's." The employee watched the pilot returned to the airplane. The pilot got in and out of the pilot's door 4 times. The employee went out to the airplane and asked the pilot if he had a problem. The pilot stated his door would not close. The employee asked the pilot if he would like them to drive him home and the pilot said no. The pilot entered the airplane through the passenger door, secured the door, slid over to the pilot seat, opened the pilot door, closed it, and secured it without any problems. The employee returned to the FBO and called Grinder Field and informed them of the situation and asked them to be look out for the pilot. The employee watched the airplane take off and head towards the northeast for a couple of minutes before turning back towards the northwest.

A witness located at a restaurant in the vicinity of Double Springs, Alabama, stated he heard and observed an airplane approaching his location heading north-northwest. The airplane was at a very low altitude, turned to the left, and flew over a day care center located behind the restaurant. The airplane made another turn and flew south towards highway 278. The witness stated he watched the airplane until he could not see it or its lights. A short time later he heard an impact noise. He went inside the restaurant and informed his mother what he saw and heard. They both went outside and drove their van to a friend's house located near the airplanes last observed location. They contacted the friend at his home and he informed them that he did not hear anything. The friend got his four-wheeler and they all went towards a wood line and observed a flashing red light in the woods. They called out to see if anyone would answer. The pilot responded and walked out of the woods and came to their location. The pilot informed them that he had been in a vehicle accident. The 911 emergency operators were called, and emergency responders arrived on scene.

A review of navigation maps by NTSB showed that from Clarksdale, Mississippi, the heading to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is 264-degrees and the heading to Double Springs, Alabama, the accident site, is 92-degrees.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't look like this guy was even capable of doing IMSAFE. I think that sometimes we rely too much on exclusive PIC privledge. At some point there needs to be a way to throw a flag that a pilot is unsafe and may not even know it. Too many times I've seen people watch a pilot do something very unsafe and in some cases deadly all the while shaking thier heads and saying, "man, what an idiot". Very rarely do we ever interfere unless that pilots operation interferes with our own. In some cases, even that isn't enough. How many stories have we heard about near mid-airs in the pattern where one or both of the pilots were never even aware that they had a close call and no one bothered to do anything but grouch about it to others.

Greybeard said...

I dunno, anon.
Too many damn regs already,
and ask yourself the question I always ask under these circumstances.....
Would this guy be any less dangerous in a Cadillac Coupe DeVille?
I think not.
You cannot take the risk out of life.

It is interesting to speculate what happened here....
Diabetic complications,
Mental illness?

I wish there was a way to easily follow up on the details.