Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 210A Centurion, N68640; Fatal accident occurred April 02, 2018 in Alma, Park County, Colorado

Hiker Comes Across An Airplane Crash Site, Picks Up A Razor That's Eerily Still Working



Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Alma, Colorado
Accident Number: CEN18FA266
Date & Time: April 2, 2018
Registration: N68640
Aircraft: Cessna 210 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The noncertificated private pilot departed on a cross-country flight to relocate his airplane for maintenance. When the airplane did not arrive at its intended destination, it was reported missing, and was found by hikers over 3 months later. Detailed radar data was not available, and the airplane's route of flight count not be determined. The wreckage was located in mountainous terrain at an elevation of 12,700 ft mean sea level. The damage to the airplane, the ground scars, and debris field were consistent with a right-wing low impact and subsequent cartwheel.

Surface analysis charts, wind profiles, and satellite images depicted conditions consistent with and conducive for moderate-to-severe turbulence and mountain wave along the route of flight. In addition, there were multiple pilot reports along the route of flight for moderate to severe turbulence and mountain wave. There was no record that the pilot obtained a weather briefing for the intended route of flight.

The examination of the airframe, engine, and related systems was limited due to terrain and elevation of the accident site. Impact damage precluded functional testing of the engine and related components.

With the exception of one flight the evening before the accident, during which the pilot experienced a brake problem, and after which a nose landing gear collapse when the pilot inadvertently retracted the landing gear on the ground, it is likely that the airplane had not flown for the previous 4 years and it did not have a current annual inspection.

The pilot had diabetes treated with insulin and respiratory issues resulting in a requirement for supplemental oxygen. Complications from these medical issues could impair his ability to safely operate an airplane. However, there was no evidence of overt symptoms on the day of the accident. Furthermore, based upon the pilot's history of failure to follow regulations it is more likely that the pilot's decisions on the day of the accident were consistent with his past disregard for rules rather than the effects of his medical condition.

Toxicological testing detected both ethanol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of marijuana. Due to the length of time that the remains were exposed to the environment, it is possible that the ethanol was from a source other than ingestion. The THC detected in the muscle indicates that the pilot had ingested marijuana at some point before to the accident. However, determination of impairment at or around the time of the flight from THC identified in tissues exposed to the elements for many months is not possible.

Given the pilot's history of failure to follow regulations, his decisions on the day of the accident are consistent with a demonstrated disregard for rules. Whether the airplane's lack of maintenance contributed to its performance in mountainous terrain could not be determined. In addition, the extent to which the pilot's lack of recent experience contributed to his ability to properly respond to a mountain wave turbulence encounter could not be determined. It is likely that this mountain wave encounterresulted in a loss of control and impact with terrain.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The noncertificated pilot's poor decision to depart on a flight over mountainous terrain in an improperly maintained airplane, and the subsequent encounter with mountain wave turbulence, which resulted in the loss of airplane control and impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's inadequate preflight weather planning.


Aircraft (general) - Attain/maintain not possible
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Downdraft - Effect on operation
Environmental issues High wind - Effect on operation
Environmental issues High wind - Ability to respond/compensate
Environmental issues Downdraft - Ability to respond/compensate
Personnel issues Weather planning - Pilot
Personnel issues Recent experience - Pilot
Personnel issues Scheduled/routine maintenance - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-cruise Other weather encounter
Enroute-cruise Turbulence encounter
Enroute-cruise Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On April 2, 2018, at an unknown time, a Cessna 210A airplane, N68640, impacted mountainous terrain 5 miles west of Alma, Colorado. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The flight departed Erie Municipal Airport (KEIK) Erie, Colorado, about 0815 mountain daylight time, and was en route to Richmond Municipal Airport (KRIF) Richmond, Utah.

The evening before the accident, one witness assisted the pilot with pushing his airplane back onto the taxiway after the left brake locked up. The pilot and witness had a short discussion about how neither the pilot nor his airplane had flown in over a year.

Also, on the evening before the accident, the pilot called a tow truck company around 1900, and requested assistance with his airplane. The pilot told the tow truck driver, who responded to the airport, that he hit the wrong lever and the nose landing gear collapsed. The tow truck driver stated that the pilot placed a soft strap around the fuselage/cowling, and the tow truck driver helped him lift the airplane. The tow truck driver did not see any visible fuselage or cowling damage. The pilot told the tow truck driver that he was going to have a mechanic look at it the next morning.

The pilot's brother dropped the pilot off at KEIK the morning of the accident. The brother planned to drive to Utah and meet the pilot at KRIF that afternoon. An Airframe and Powerplant mechanic at KRIF spoke briefly with the pilot that morning about 0815 and understood the pilot was departing at that time. The witness who had helped the pilot the night before saw the pilot conduct a long engine run up, about 15 minutes in duration. The airplane then departed.

When the pilot's brother arrived at KRIF, neither the airport manager nor the mechanic had seen the pilot or the airplane at KRIF.

The airplane was subsequently reported missing and an ALNOT was issued at 1702. Search efforts found primary radar targets and cellular telephone triangulation data, consistent with the accident flight, as late as 0932 on the day of the accident. The exact route of flight and altitudes could not be determined. Search efforts were suspended indefinitely on April 6, 2018, due to inclement weather conditions in the search area. The wreckage was found by hikers on July 13, 2018.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 67,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: None None 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 27, 2006
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 650 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

The pilot's flight logbook was not located during the investigation. On the pilot's most recent medical certificate application, dated June 27, 2006, the pilot reported 650 total hours of flight time, 30 hours of which were recorded in the previous 6 months. The pilot's brother estimated that it had been at least 2 years since the pilot had flown.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, an Emergency Order of Suspension was issued on July 22, 2014, for violation of Federal Aviation Regulations including operating as pilot-in-command without a valid medical certificate, deviation from air traffic control clearances, and airspace violations. The suspension of the pilot's private pilot certificate became final on
August 18, 2014; according to these records, the pilot did not surrender the certificate or respond to the FAA during their investigation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N68640
Model/Series: 210 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1960
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 21057627
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 3, 2014 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2899 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
Engine Model/Series: IO-470-DcE
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 260 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None

Some maintenance records were located with the wreckage of the airplane, to include an airframe logbook, a current engine logbook, various FAA Form 337 records, engineering drawings, Supplemental Type Certificate documents, and invoices. All the located records were damaged by impact and exposure to moisture, and some records were saturated in fuel and oil. The airframe logbook contained
entries between 1968 and 1976. The most recent maintenance entry in the engine logbook was dated February 3, 2014, and detailed the maintenance performed for a 100-hour and annual inspection. The tachometer time was recorded as 1,649.78 hours, and the time since major overhaul was recorded as 667.98 hours. No other maintenance records were located. The tachometer time at the time of the
accident was not determined.

According to the airport manager at KEIK, the pilot had rented a tie-down spot at the airport in March 2014 and moved his airplane there. The airport manager was not aware of the airplane ever moving after that, although he stated it was possible that it flew at times when he was not working at the airport. About a year before to the accident the pilot's daughter contacted the airport manager regarding selling the airplane. A pre-purchase inspection was conducted at the request of one potential buyer; however, it was determined that due to the extensive repair work needed on the airplane, it would be best to sell the airplane for salvage or "as is." The details of the inspection are included in the public docket for this investigation.

The pilot's brother stated that the pilot worked on the airplane for several days before the accident flight to clean and prepare the airplane for the flight; however, he was not aware of specifics regarding the work or maintenance completed. The pilot flew the airplane the night before the accident and conducted 4 touch and go landings. The brother watched the flight from the ground and stated that the airplane sounded good and that his brother's landings were smooth. According to another family member, due to the landing gear issue on the evening before the accident, the pilot elected to fly with the landing gear down on the accident flight.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLXV,9924 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 09:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 243°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 25 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Terrain-Induced / Terrain-Induced
Wind Direction: 280° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Moderate / Severe
Altimeter Setting: 29.79 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Erie, CO (KEIK) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Richfield, UT (KRIF) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 08:15 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

A Senior Meteorologist for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) gathered relevant meteorological data for the day of the accident. This data are available in the public docket for this accident.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 0900 depicted a warm front extending north to south over eastern Colorado, with a high-pressure center located over southwest Colorado. A separate low pressure system was located over the Colorado and Utah boarder. The station models depicted generally clear to scattered cloud cover over the region with temperatures around
40°Fahrenheit (F) over the higher terrain, and around 60° F over eastern Colorado and Utah. No significant weather or precipitation was reported over the route of flight.

The Denver upper air sounding wind and thermal profile indicated favorable conditions for mountain wave conditions with a primary wave at 9,000 ft capable of producing moderate-to-severe turbulence with a maximum vertical velocity of 928 ft per minute.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-15, taken at 0845, depicted some low to mid-level clouds in the vicinity of the accident site, with several well-defined cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL) clouds surrounding the accident site. The CCSL clouds indicate orographic or mountain wave activity over that region at that time. The GOES-15 water vapor imagery, taken at 0845,
depicted moisture channel darkening, which indicated descending air flow and evaporation, which were then marked by rising air, and clouds, which further defined mountain wave conditions and potential turbulence over the region.

The closest official weather observation station was Lake County Airport (KLXV), Leadville, Colorado, located 7 nautical miles west of the accident site at an elevation of 9,924 ft. The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for KLXV, issued at 0953 reported, wind 280° at 14 knots, gusting to 25 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies below 12,000 ft, clear, temperature 6° Celsius (C), dewpoint temperature - 12° C, altimeter 29.79 inches of mercury (Hg).

The METAR taken at Copper Mountain, Red Cliff Pass (KCCU), located 12 nautical miles north of the accident site at an elevation of 12,073 ft, issued at 0936 reported, wind 260° at 25 knots, gusting to 40 knots, visibility 1 ¼ miles in light snow, sky obscured, vertical visibility 700 ft, temperature 1° C, dewpoint temperature -12° C, altimeter 29.84 inches of Hg.

A search of pilot reports (PIREPS) revealed numerous reports of moderate turbulence between the altitudes of 10,000 ft and 16,000 ft on the morning of the accident. One flight crew reported severe turbulence at 30,000 ft and another flight crew reported severe turbulence at 14,000 ft. Several flight crews reported moderate mountain wave with one that reported moderate mountain wave and the
inability to hold altitude.

Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) Tango was valid for the route of flight at the time of the accident for moderate turbulence below 18,000 ft, strong sustained surface winds greater than 30 knots, and low-level wind shear.

A search of official weather briefing sources, such as contract Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) provider Leidos weather briefings and the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), was conducted and revealed that the accident pilot did not request a weather briefing through Leidos or DUATS.

Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation:
Runway Surface
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None
Wreckage and Impact Information
Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.459999,-105.66333(est)

The accident site was located in mountainous terrain, at an elevation of 12,700 ft msl. The rocky terrain was vegetated with short grass and wildflowers. A set of powerlines, running east/west, was located about 100 ft south of the main wreckage. The main wreckage included the engine, both wings, the fuselage, and empennage. The wreckage came to rest on its left side and the nose of the airplane was oriented on a heading of 270°.

The initial impact point was located about 33 ft west of the main wreckage. The initial impact point included fragmented plexiglass/windscreen. Debris extended from the initial impact point, east, to the main wreckage and included the portions of the left and right aileron, engine components, one propeller blade, and fragmented and torn metal from the left wing.

Landing light reflector fragments and a left-wing inspection panel were located to the north of the initial impact point. The right main landing gear separated and was located 28 ft south of the main wreckage. The left main landing gear and nose landing gear remained with the wreckage. Signatures were consistent with the landing gear being extended.

The fuselage included the cabin and instrument panel. Two seats separated from the wreckage and came to rest to the west of the main wreckage and were impact damaged. The instrument panel and engine control panel were impact damaged, fragmented, and did not provide any reliable readings.

The engine separated from the fuselage and came to rest inverted, on top of the inverted right wing. The engine was impact damaged and could not be functionally tested.

Both propeller blades separated from the engine. One blade was located in the debris field. The second blade was located 300 ft southeast of the main wreckage. Both blades displayed deep leading-edge gouges and leading-edge twisting. The blade near the initial impact area exhibited deep chordwise scrapes, with the tip torn away, and a large tear about midspan.

The right wing separated partially from the airplane. The right aileron was impact damaged and partially separated. The outboard portion of the aileron separated entirely and was located in the debris field. The right flap remained attached and signatures were consistent with the flap being up or retracted. The leading edge exhibited accordion crushing.

The left wing remained partially attached to the fuselage. The inboard portion of the left aileron was impact damaged and partially separated. The outboard portion of the aileron separated and was located in the debris field. The left flap remained attached and signatures were consistent with the flap being up or retracted. The leading edge of the left wing exhibited accordion crushing along the entire span. The outboard portion of the wing was torn and bent up and aft. The left-wing fuel tank exhibited hydraulic deformation damage along the leading edge of the wing.

The empennage included the horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevator. The outboard portions of the elevators and stabilizer were impact damaged. The outboard tips of both elevators were located in the debris field. The rotating beacon separated but was adjacent to the empennage. The rudder and vertical stabilizer were bent slightly but otherwise unremarkable.

Impact damage precluded functional testing of the engine and related components. The airplane was not insured and the wreckage was not recovered from the accident site. The examination of the airframe, engine, and related systems was limited due to terrain and elevation of the accident site. Details of the examination accomplished are located in the public docket to this investigation.

Flight recorders

A Garmin GPSMAP was located in the wreckage and subsequently sent to the NTSB recorders laboratory for further examination. No tracklog data was recovered.

Medical and Pathological Information

The autopsy was performed by the Jefferson County Coroner's office, Golden, Colorado, on July 17, 2018, as authorized by the Park County Coroner's office. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was "massive bodily injury secondary to blunt force trauma sustained in the airplane accident" and the report listed the specific injuries. The autopsy was limited due to injury and prolonged exposure to the elements. The autopsy documented the identified coronary arteries were widely patent with areas of calcific atherosclerosis. There was no identified evidence of heart muscle scarring in a limited specimen. The brain could not be examined.

The FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. Testing of the received samples detected ethanol at 0.050 g/dl in liver and at 0.070 g/dl in muscle. The primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) was detected in muscle at 0.0042 µg/mL. Its inactive metabolite 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) was detected in muscle at 0.001µg/ml and liver at 0.0317 µg/ml.

Ethanol the active intoxicant in beer, wine, and spirits is primarily a social drug and is a powerful central nervous system depressant. After absorption, ethanol is quickly distributed throughout the body's tissues and fluids fairly uniformly. The distribution pattern parallels the water content and blood supply of each organ. Ethanol may also be produced in the body after death by microbial activity. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana.

The 67-year-old male pilot was last medically certified in June 2006. According to the FAA medical case review, at the time of the accident flight he did not have a valid medical certificate or a pilot certificate.

About two months before the accident, the pilot was hospitalized for respiratory and renal failure with associated metabolic encephalopathy due to diabetic ketoacidosis. During the hospital stay, he experienced atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. He was successfully treated with insulin, cardiovascular medications, and dialysis and was released home with a requirement for supplemental oxygen secondary to persistent oxygen desaturation during exercise. Records post-discharge were not available.

KUSA — Two men who were four-wheeling just outside of Leadville Friday helped solve a three-month-long mystery and bring closure to an Oregon pilot’s family and the first responders who have been looking for him since April.

Pat Wester and his son-in-law Jon Cook were on a day trip on Mosquito Pass when something caught their eyes.

“Just a beautiful open area,” Wester said. “And I saw a white spot. Something that, it looked kind of like snow, at first, when I looked at it, but it was way too low to be snow.”

What he saw was the wreckage of a Cessna 210 single-engine plane that went off the radar on April. It was traveling between the Erie Municipal Airport and Richfield, Utah.

The lone pilot, 67-year-old Quentin Aschoff of Bend, Oregon, did not have a flight plan, and the plane did not have an operating transponder.

Search and rescue crews looked for him for nearly two weeks to no avail. During the initial search, 10 aircraft scoured 120 square miles of land trying to find the missing pilot and his plane.

That search concentrated around Kenosha Pass and along Interstate 70 to Copper Mountain, partly because Aschoff didn't file a flight plan.

"We searched with 24 sorties, 10 aircraft, all the way to the Utah border," said Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Mike Daniels.

The morning Aschoff disappeared, there was a snowstorm in the mountains, with wind gusts 40 to 50 miles per hour.

“It looked like the tail had, kind of, folded back on the rest of the plane from an impact standpoint, and said ‘this looks bad, there’s no way somebody survived this,’” Cook said.

Aschoff’s body was removed from the plane and identified using fingerprints on Friday.

"It's not just the family that needs closure,” Cook said. “It's Civil Air Patrol, it's Colorado Search and Rescue, it's the sheriff's office, it's other people who have spent a couple weeks of their lives and saying they didn't get the closure for this.”

"We feel that we're part of that family searching for one of their own, and when we're not able to find the aircraft and the individual, it's quite disheartening," said Daniels. "However, it does bring closure to know that we did finally find the aircraft through these hikers and now the family knows what happened."

Original article can be found here ➤

The search for a plane that went missing during a flight from Erie to Utah, has been suspended, with rescue crews finding no sign of the plane after two weeks of searching. 

The pilot, identified Friday as Quentin Aschoff, 67, of Bend, Oregon, took off from Erie at 8 a.m. in a Cessna 210 and was scheduled to arrive in Richfield, Utah, at around 11:30 a.m. Richfield is about 225 miles west of Grand Junction.

According to a release from the Colorado wing of the Civil Air Patrol, Aschoff was planning on following Interstate 70 but, according to radar, diverted east after reaching the Loveland Pass and began following U.S. 285. The last radar contact with the plane was near Grant, Colorado, and cell phone signals ceased about 30 minutes after that.

The plane did not have an operating transponder and Aschoff did not file a flight plan, according to Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Mike Daniels.

Civil Air Patrol aircrews flew 24 searches with 10 aircraft, covering a search area from the last radar contact to the Utah border, with the search concentrated around the ridges north and northwest of South Park, the routes between Kenosha Pass and I-70 at Silverton and Copper Mountain.

Searchers encountered wind and snow in the search area, and at one point had to suspend the search due to weather.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. This was just a recipe for disaster, the plane was out of annual, had not had an annual inspection, the pilot had not flown this plane in years. He was an insulin dependent diabetic, that also required oxygen. His license was suspended in 2014, because he was flying without a medical! Apparently at one point decided to sell the plane, during a pre-buy inspection, it was found that the plane should just be sold for salvage, or as is, due to what it would cost to repair. Sad that he lost his life, but still some common sense should have been used.

  2. I do not understand WHY expend tens of $thousand of federal, state and local investigative and reporting hours for a noncertificated pilot's accident; "whose history of failure to follow regulations, his decisions on the day of the accident are consistent with a demonstrated disregard for rules."

    1. For one, In case it was a problem with the aircraft that would trigger an AD for other owners of similar took an investigation to understand the accident. We all benefit from the data and final report.

      Also, its a great teaching moment for low hour less experienced pilots to see these hard facts laid out in a makes us safer pilots when we truly get an inside look at what we don't know or haven’t experienced.

    2. Search and rescue missions provide excellent experience and learning opportunities - even when unsuccessful. Also, how do you really know who is in the aircraft until you find it?

  3. one word "SAD!" don't want to beat up some poor dead guy..but come on, thankfully he did not injure or kill anyone else .people like this give "GA" a BAD NAME!
    RIP SIR!

  4. What the hell did I just read????
    I mean it's not just one thing that was deadly in there and warranting that emergency order of suspension but several.
    Drive without a license and insurance and in most states your car is towed away. Here nothing was done to at least check on the airman and his activities?
    The only good thing is he killed no one else but considering his poor ADM we should all be glad he decided not to operate an illegal charter on top of everything, because... why not?

  5. Cross-mountain flight with the gear down? Sounds like a "drag" to me.

  6. if or when did the realization of his folly set in! The same as lifting off in IMC knowing what the f... next for the few seconds left!