Accident Cessna 340A N7022G,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 268478
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Date:Monday 11 October 2021
Type:Silhouette image of generic C340 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 340A
Owner/operator:Samarth Aviation LLC
Registration: N7022G
MSN: 340A0695
Year of manufacture:1979
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Santee, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Yuma MCAS/Yuma International Airport, AZ (YUM/KNYL)
Destination airport:San Diego-Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, CA (MYF/KMYF)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On October 11, 2021, about 1214 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 340A, N7022G, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Santee, California. The pilot and one person on the ground were fatally injured, and 2 people on the ground sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot was on a cross-country flight, receiving vectors for an instrument approach while in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The approach controller instructed the pilot to descend to 2,800 ft mean sea level (msl) until established on the localizer, and subsequently cleared the flight for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 28R, then circle to land on runway 23. About 1 minute later, the controller told the pilot that it looked like the airplane was drifting right of course and asked him if he was correcting back on course. The pilot responded “correcting, 22G.” About 9 seconds later, the pilot transmitted “SoCal, is 22G, VFR runway 23” to which the controller told the pilot that the airplane was not tracking on the localizer and subsequently canceled the approach clearance and instructed the pilot to climb and maintain 3,000 ft. As the pilot acknowledged the altitude assignment, the controller issued a low altitude alert, and provided the minimum vectoring altitude in the area. The pilot acknowledged the controller’s instructions shortly after. At this time, recorded advanced dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data showed the airplane on a northwesterly heading at an altitude of 2,400 ft msl.

Over the course of the following 2 minutes, the controller issued multiple instructions for the pilot to climb to 4,000 ft, which the pilot acknowledged; however, ADS-B data showed that the airplane remained between 2,500 ft and 3,500 ft. The controller queried the pilot about his altitude and the pilot responded, “2,500 ft, 22G.” The controller subsequently issued a low altitude alert and advised the pilot to expedite the climb to 5,000 ft. No further communication was received from the pilot despite multiple queries from the controller. ADS-B data showed that the airplane had begun to climb and reached a maximum altitude of 3,500 ft before it began a descending right turn. The airplane remained in the right descending turn at a descent rate of about 5,000 ft per minute until the last recorded target at 900 ft msl, located about 1,333 ft northwest of the accident site.

Recorded weather conditions at the pilot’s intended destination airport about 21 minutes before the accident showed that the cloud ceilings were broken at 2,127 ft msl, overcast at 3,227 ft msl. The closest weather reporting station to the accident site, which was about 1.8 miles south, showed a broken cloud layer at 3,086 ft msl.
The airplane had undergone a conversion to modern avionics about 11 months before the accident. No reference to any additional training to the installed avionics was found within the provided pilot records. While the pilot had previous experience with other brands modern avionics, the investigation was unable to determine if the pilot had previous experience or training for the specific model of modern avionics installed in the airplane.

The controller had cleared the flight to fly the ILS approach to runway 28R, circle to land on runway 23, and ADS-B track data showed that the airplane was about to be established on the localizer when it started to veer off course to the right, ultimately into an area with minimum vectoring altitudes that required the controller to issue instructions to the pilot to climb. During the divergence from the instrument approach, the airplane was at an altitude above the reported base of the broken cloud layer and below the base of the overcast layer at the destination airport, which most likely placed the airplane in and out of IMC conditions.

Ultimately, the airplane climbed back into IMC conditions. It could not be determined if the pilot had inadvertently misconfigured the avionics for the instrument approach. Continuing the instrument approach would have afforded the pilot the opportunity to fly a stabilized approach in protected airspace and safely descend below the cloud layer prior to conducting the circle to land on runway 23.

Given the airplane was maneuvering in IMC, it placed the pilot in conditions conducive to the development of spatial disorientation. The accident circumstances, including the tightening descending turn, and the subsequent high-energy impact, are consistent with the known effects of spatial disorientation. Additionally, examination of the airframe and engines revealed no evidence of any preexisting anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Therefore, it is likely that the pilot was experiencing the effects of spatial disorientation when the accident occurred.

Probable Cause: Loss of control due to spatial disorientation.

Sources: (photo)

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR22FA004
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Download report: Final report



Photos: NTSB

Revision history:

11-Oct-2021 20:46 Geno Added
11-Oct-2021 20:47 Geno Updated [Location]
11-Oct-2021 20:53 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Source]
12-Oct-2021 02:08 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
12-Oct-2021 05:17 gerard57 Updated [Other fatalities]
12-Oct-2021 05:40 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
12-Oct-2021 05:42 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
12-Oct-2021 05:52 Iceman 29 Updated [Location, Embed code]
12-Oct-2021 06:01 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
12-Oct-2021 06:30 aaronwk Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
12-Oct-2021 06:34 harro Updated [Narrative]
12-Oct-2021 12:23 johnwg Updated [Source, Narrative, Category]
12-Oct-2021 16:17 aaronwk Updated [Narrative]
12-Oct-2021 17:18 johnwg Updated [Source]
12-Oct-2021 20:39 RobertMB Updated [Source, Narrative]
13-Oct-2021 09:27 johnwg Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]
14-Oct-2021 17:14 johnwg Updated [Source]
14-Oct-2021 20:13 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
27-Oct-2021 15:58 aaronwk Updated [Phase, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
11-Nov-2023 22:09 Captain Adam Updated [Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category, Accident report, Photo]
11-Nov-2023 22:10 Captain Adam Updated [Photo]

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