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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 147574
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P210 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion
Registration: N41KA
MSN: P21000045
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Near Santa Monica Municipal Airport - KSMO, Santa Monica, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Destination airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
About 15 minutes after departure, the pilot contacted air traffic control and requested a return to the departure airport without indicating the reason. About 10 minutes later, the pilot was instructed to enter a right base leg for the runway and was subsequently cleared to land behind traffic. One minute later, the pilot declared an emergency, but he did not identify the nature of the emergency. No further transmissions were made by the pilot. The airplane then collided with treetops on a southeasterly heading about 3 miles northeast of the airport and continued about 200 feet before striking the top of a palm tree and falling to the ground. A postcrash fire consumed the majority of the airplane.
Postaccident examination of the airframe revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The engine spark plugs were covered in heavy, dark soot indicative of an extremely rich mixture condition, which could have resulted in a loss of engine power. The engine was examined and subsequently placed on a test stand. After repairs were made to facilitate an engine run, the engine started, ran, and responded to throttle movements with no discrepancies noted. The reason for the return to the departure airport and subsequent reported emergency could not be determined.
The investigation found that the pilot may have had therapeutic levels of doxylamine, a sedating antihistamine, in his blood about the time of the accident. However, based on the circumstances of the accident, it is unlikely that pilot impairment from doxylamine contributed to the accident. Further, the carbon monoxide present in the pilotís blood is consistent with postaccident exposure to combustion products.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain altitude during a return to the airport following an unspecified emergency; the nature of the emergency could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


FAA register:,0,4379894.story

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

10-Aug-2012 23:36 Geno Added
11-Aug-2012 18:13 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Source]
13-Aug-2012 12:45 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Aircraft type]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
28-Nov-2017 13:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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