October 14, 2012, Simpson, La. Cessna 172R Skyhawk


At about 2127 Central time, the airplane impacted a tree and terrain during descent. The solo private pilot sustained fatal injuries while the airplane sustained substantial damage. Night visual conditions prevailed.

Radar data showed the airplane was flying on a westerly heading at approximately 2100 feet and 120 knots at about 2126. The airplane then descended to 1800 feet and groundspeed increased to 130 knots. The next radar data point shows the aircraft turning to the right and descending to 1400 feet and increasing speed to 140 knots. The last radar point shows the aircraft at 800 feet and 150 knots on a northeast heading. This descending turn was observed on the radar playback scope between two areas consistent with precipitation returns. U.S. Army helicopters in the area subsequently found the wreckage the next day.

Weather observed near the accident site at 2155 included calm winds, thunderstorms, few clouds at 4200 feet, scattered clouds at 5500 feet and scattered clouds at 7500 feet. According to the operator, the airplane’s fuel tanks were topped off prior to the accident flight. No airplane or engine pre-impact anomalies were detected at the accident site.


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