Aircraft Incident/Accident Report

Lander, Wyoming 82520
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 11:45 MST

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The non-instrument-rated pilot and two passengers departed their home state of Texas in the single-engine airplane, bound for an airport in mountainous terrain in Idaho. No records of telephone or computer contact by the pilot to either obtain preflight weather briefings or file any flight plans were located. There were no records of contact with air traffic controllers for any portion of the multi-leg flight. About 54 hours after the airplaneā€™s departure from Texas, an overflying airliner detected and reported a 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal. About 24 hours later, the wreckage was located by search personnel on a ridge at an elevation of about 11,700 feet. Detailed examination of the engine, propeller, and airframe did not reveal any preexisting mechanical deficiencies or failures that would have precluded normal operation. All damage patterns were consistent with controlled flight into terrain. AIRMETs for mountain obscuration, icing, and turbulence were in effect for the accident locale at the time of the accident. Ground- and satellite-based meteorological information indicated that instrument meteorological conditions and icing likely existed at the time and location of the accident. The accident occurred on the second leg of the second day of the trip. The majority of the 2-hour accident flight leg was conducted at 12,500 feet. Although the airplane was equipped with and the pilot had access to supplemental oxygen, it could not be determined whether he used it during the accident flight. Review of data from an onboard handheld global positioning system (GPS) unit indicated that, except for the accident flight, each leg of the trip was flown on a direct, straight-line route between the departure and destination airport. Flight track data indicated that, during the last 4 minutes of the accident flight, the airplane conducted a series of turning descents and climbs consistent with the pilot's likely attempt to navigate in and around weather in the mountainous terrain. The GPS unit incorporated a terrain database and terrain advisory features. The Sectional Aeronautical Chart maximum elevation figure (MEF) for the quadrangle that the accident occurred in was 12,800 feet. It could not be determined whether the pilot referenced, possessed, or used any sectional charts for the flight or whether he was aware of the published MEF. Although it would not have aided the airplane occupants in this case, if the airplane had been equipped with a 406-MHz ELT, it is likely that the time and resources expended to locate the wreckage would have been significantly reduced.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The non-instrument-rated pilot's decision to continue visual flight in instrument or marginal visual meteorological conditions in mountainous terrain, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of preflight planning to ensure that appropriate weather and terrain avoidance options remained available to him.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date12/22/2010 
Event Day of the WeekWednesday 
Time of Event1145 
Event Time ZoneMountain Standard Time 
Event CityLander 
Event StateWYOMING 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site82520 
Event Date Year2010 
Event Date Month12 
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude423535N 
Event Location Longitude1085854W 
Event Location Airport-- 
Event Location Nearest Airport ID-- 
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportOff Airport/Airstrip 
Distance from airport in statute miles-- 
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation-- 
Weather Briefing Completeness-- 
Investigator's weather sourceWitness 
Time of the weather observation 
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)-- 
Weather Observation Facility ID-- 
Elevation of weather observation facility-- 
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)-- 
Time Zone of the weather observation-- 
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height-- 
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height-- 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions-- 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingOvercast 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)-- 
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)-- 
Visibility (Statute Miles)
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)-- 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)-- 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)-- 
Variable Wind Indicator-- 
Wind Speed (knots)-- 
Wind Velocity Indicator Calm 
Wind Gust Indicator-- 
Wind Gust (knots) -- 
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) -- 
Density Altitude (feet)-- 
Intensity of Precipitation-- 
METAR weather report -- 
Event Highest InjuryFatal 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries-- 
On Ground, Minor Injuries-- 
On Ground, Serious Injuries-- 
Injury Total Fatal
Injury Total Minor-- 
Injury Total None-- 
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)30353 
NTSB Notification SourceFAA Northwest Mountain ROC  
NTSB Notification Date-- 
NTSB Notification Time-- 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information-- 
Date of most recent change to recordAug 16 2012 5:29PM 
User who most recently changed recordcoos 
Basic weather conditionsInstrument Meteorological Cond 
FAA District Office-- 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN799RS 
NTSB NumberWPR11FA082 
Missing Aircraft Indicator-- 
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 91: General Aviation 
Type of Flight Plan filedUnknown 
Flight plan Was Activated?No 
Aircraft FireNone 
Aircraft ExplosionNone 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NameAERO COMMANDER 
Aircraft Model114B 
Aircraft Series Identifier-- 
Aircraft Serial Number14658 
Certified Max Gross Weight3250 
Aircraft CategoryAirplane 
Aircraft Registration Class-- 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearRetractable 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAnnual 
Date of Last InspectionJun 15 2010 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection122 
Airframe Hours963 
ELT InstalledYes 
ELT ActivatedYes 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteYes 
ELT TypeC91-A 
Aircraft Owner NameCondor Aero LLC 
Aircraft Owner Street Address-- 
Aircraft Owner CityJasper 
Aircraft Owner StateTX 
Aircraft Owner CountryUSA  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode75951 
Operator is an individual?Yes 
Operator NameRalph L. Day Jr 
Operator Same as Owner?No 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?No 
Operator Street Address-- 
Operator CitySam Rayburn 
Operator StateTX 
Operator CountryUSA  
Operator Zip code75951 
Operator Code-- 
Owner has at least one certificateNone 
Other Operator of large aircraft?No 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation-- 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not-- 
Indicates Domestic or International Flight-- 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail-- 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)Personal 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventNo 
Departure Airport CodeFNL  
Departure CityFt Collins 
Departure StateCO 
Departure CountryUSA 
Departure Time937 
Departure Time ZoneMST 
Destination Same as Local Flt-- 
Destination Airport CodeDIJ  
Destination CityDriggs 
Destination StateWY 
Destination CountryUSA 
Specific Phase of Flight-- 
Report sent to ICAO?-- 
Evacuation occurred-- 
Date of most recent change to recordAug 16 2012 4:45PM 
User who most recently changed recordcoos 
Since inspection or accidentLast Inspection 
Event Location Runway Number and LocationN/A 
Runway Length-- 
Runway Width-- 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--