Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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

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 Event Accident
Event Date 12/22/2010
Event Day of the Week Wednesday
Time of Event 1145
Event Time Zone Mountain Standard Time
Event City Lander
Event State WYOMING
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 82520
Event Date Year 2010
Event Date Month 12
MidAir Collision Indicator No
On Ground Collision occurred ? No
Event Location Latitude 423535N
Event Location Longitude 1085854W
Event Location Airport --
Event Location Nearest Airport ID --
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airport Off Airport/Airstrip
Distance from airport in statute miles --
Degrees magnetic from airport --
Airport Elevation --
Weather Briefing Completeness --
Investigator's weather source Witness
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 Conditions Day
Lowest Ceiling Height --
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height --
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions --
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling Overcast
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet) --
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles) --
Visibility (Statute Miles) 1
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 Injury Fatal
On Ground, Fatal Injuries --
On Ground, Minor Injuries --
On Ground, Serious Injuries --
Injury Total Fatal 3
Injury Total Minor --
Injury Total None --
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All 3
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 30353
NTSB Notification Source FAA 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 record Aug 16 2012 5:29PM
User who most recently changed record coos
Basic weather conditions Instrument Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office --

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N799RS
NTSB Number WPR11FA082
Missing Aircraft Indicator --
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 91: General Aviation
Type of Flight Plan filed Unknown
Flight plan Was Activated? No
Damage Substantial
Aircraft Fire None
Aircraft Explosion None
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name AERO COMMANDER
Aircraft Model 114B
Aircraft Series Identifier --
Aircraft Serial Number 14658
Certified Max Gross Weight 3250
Aircraft Category Airplane
Aircraft Registration Class --
Aircraft is a homebuilt? No
Flight Crew Seats --
Cabin Crew Seats --
Passenger Seats --
Total number of seats on the aircraft 4
Number of Engines 1
Fixed gear or retractable gear Retractable
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection Annual
Date of Last Inspection Jun 15 2010 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 122
Airframe Hours 963
ELT Installed Yes
ELT Activated Yes
ELT Aided Location of Event Site Yes
ELT Type C91-A
Aircraft Owner Name Condor Aero LLC
Aircraft Owner Street Address --
Aircraft Owner City Jasper
Aircraft Owner State TX
Aircraft Owner Country USA
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 75951
Operator is an individual? Yes
Operator Name Ralph L. Day Jr
Operator Same as Owner? No
Operator Is Doing Business As --
Operator Address Same as Owner? No
Operator Street Address --
Operator City Sam Rayburn
Operator State TX
Operator Country USA
Operator Zip code 75951
Operator Code --
Owner has at least one certificate None
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 Board No
Departure Point Same as Event No
Departure Airport Code FNL
Departure City Ft Collins
Departure State CO
Departure Country USA
Departure Time 937
Departure Time Zone MST
Destination Same as Local Flt --
Destination Airport Code DIJ
Destination City Driggs
Destination State WY
Destination Country USA
Specific Phase of Flight --
Report sent to ICAO? --
Evacuation occurred --
Date of most recent change to record Aug 16 2012 4:45PM
User who most recently changed record coos
Since inspection or accident Last Inspection
Event Location Runway Number and Location N/A
Runway Length --
Runway Width --
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight No
Medical Flight --