Dec. 9, Petaluma, Calif. / Cessna Turbo Skylane


At about 19:27 Pacific time, a Cessna TR182 descended into rising hilly terrain about 3.5 nautical miles from Petaluma Municipal Airport, killing the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight plan had been filed. The pilot was practicing instrument flying and had made several flights earlier in the day. As the airplane approached Petaluma at 19:23 on the VOR DME runway 29 approach, the radar controller terminated radar services and advised the pilot to change to the airports advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged the instruction but that was the last recorded communication ATC had with the pilot. The local weather conditions at the time included heavy fog, an indefinite ceiling and visibility between 1/4 and 1/2 mile. The airplane was located at an approximate elevation of 1,020 feet msl, under the minimum descent altitude of 1,120 feet for the approach. The airport also has a GPS approach to runway 29 with an MDA of 900 feet msl and the wreckage was found in an area consistent with the pilot flying this approach instead. The airplane was equipped with a GPS receiver that was not approved for IFR use.


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