April 12, 2004, North Augusta, S.C. / Cessna 182S


At 1007 Eastern time, the Cessna collided with trees and the ground near North Augusta, S.C. The private pilot and two passengers received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight had departed the Aiken (S.C.) Municipal Airport less than 30 minutes earlier, with an intended destination of Greenville, Miss. A preliminary review of radar data revealed that the airplanes flight path exhibited constantly fluctuating altitude, heading and groundspeed and was not following its filed course. As the flight neared the Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field in Augusta, Ga., the pilot elected to proceed to that airport for landing. An air traffic controller provided the pilot a heading and altitude to fly for a surveillance approach and the pilot acknowledged. Radar data revealed the flights heading, altitude, and ground speed continued to fluctuate. Witnesses a few hundred yards from the accident site reported seeing the airplane flying low and erratically. Then it banked left and nosed straight down through the trees and to the ground.


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