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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 44172
Last updated: 21 January 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BE23 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft C23 Sundowner
Registration: N2160W
C/n / msn: M-1567
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Mena, AR -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Mena, AR (KMEZ)
Destination airport:Commerce, TX (K2F7)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The 1,042-hour commercial pilot and the pilot rated passenger had flown into the airport in separate airplanes. The pilot rated passenger needed to leave his airplane at a facility to be painted, and the pilot was planning to fly the pilot rated passenger back to his home airport. Prior to taking off, a witness, who worked at the airport, talked to the pilot about delaying his departure due to the low cloud layer that surrounded the airport, and even offered to drive them home. The witness sensed the pilot was in a "hurry", so he suggested that if the pilot was going to depart, he would need to takeoff on the northeast runway, head east, and climb to an altitude of 4,000 feet to clear rising terrain. Shortly after, the witness observed the airplane taxiing to the runway. About 10 minutes later he got a call from the pilot rated passenger saying they had "crashed the airplane on a mountainside." The passenger said, that after they took off, they flew for approximately 8 miles before making a left turn toward the west. The pilot remained on this heading for approximately 10 miles and tracked the highway, that traveled through a valley. As they entered the valley, the passenger (who was using his handheld GPS) informed the pilot that they needed to climb to a higher altitude so they would clear the mountainous terrain that surrounded them. When the airplane reached a certain point in the valley, the pilot made a left turn toward the south proceeded toward a low point along the ridgeline of a mountain. The airplane entered the cloud layer and subsequently collided with terrain about 200 feet below the ridgeline. A witness, who was walking along the highway, observed the airplane flying "very low" in a westerly direction between two mountains. He then observed the airplane turn toward the south and disappear into "heavy fog." Moments later, the witness heard a "loud bang." A review of FAA records revealed that the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing or file an IFR flight plan prior to their departure. According to published airport information, pilots were informed about the mountains located to the north and south-southwest of the airport. In addition, a review of the Memphis Sectional Aeronautical Chart, revealed a warning to pilots stating: "Rapidly Rising Terrain-Use Caution During Periods of Low Ceiling and Visibility." Weather reported at the airport included wind from 280 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 17 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, and an overcast layer at 1,200 feet.
Probable Cause: The pilot's continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing factors were the mountainous terrain and the low ceilings.



Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
05-Dec-2017 09:03 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]

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