August 5, 2009, Napa, Calif., Cessna 182S


At 0431 Pacific time, the airplane impacted a hill shortly after departure. The solo commercial pilot was killed and the airplane was substantially damaged. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed and a clearance had been issued.

Recorded radar data was consistent with the airplane making a shallow left bank and gradually increasing in altitude towards the east. The target was first identified at a Mode C reported altitude of 100 feet msl. During the next minute, radar returns disclosed a gradual ascent to 1000 feet msl; the last two returns show an altitude of 900 feet and a slight change of direction to the south. The last radar return was located about 0.5 miles north of the accident site, which had an elevation of about 313 feet msl. Fragments of the airplanes wheel pants were the debris farthest from the main wreckage; they were located downslope about 250 feet on a median magnetic bearing of about 345 degrees. All control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site.


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