Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rockwell Commander 112A, N1332J: Fatal accident occurred January 25, 2019 on Mount Hood, Oregon

George Regis of Battle Ground, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Image 1: Approximate Radar-Derived Flight Path

Location: Mt Hood, OR
Accident Number: WPR19FA077
Date & Time: 01/25/2019, 1559 PST
Registration: N1332J
Aircraft: ROCKWELL 112
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 25, 2019, at 1559 Pacific standard time a Rockwell International 112, N1332J, collided with terrain while maneuvering around the peak of Mount Hood, Oregon. The private pilot, sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Auger Air Inc., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. The flight departed Portland-Troutdale Airport, Portland, Oregon, about 1530 with a presumed destination of Grove Field Airport, Camas, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot often went flying on his own, usually locally, but sometimes to visit friends and family in Arizona. She stated that he would often go flying without her knowledge, and sometimes he would be away for a weekend and she would not be able to reach him. She stated that during the weeks leading up to the accident he had mentioned that he was planning a trip to Arizona.

On the day of the accident she arranged to meet the pilot at their work, but when she arrived at 1100, he was not there. She sent him a text message, which her phone indicated had been read, and he then called and told her there had been a change of plans, and he was at Troutdale Airport having maintenance performed on the airplane.

The pilot usually finished work by 1600, but by 1700 he was not home, so she sent him a text message. Her phone indicated the message was delivered but not read. She continued to send messages throughout the weekend, but did not receive a reply, and she assumed he had gone away again for a few days, possibly to Arizona as previously discussed.

She assumed the pilot would be back Sunday night (January 27), but by Monday morning, he had not returned, and she became concerned. She called the pilot's friend in Arizona, who stated that he had not visited. She then went to Camas airport, where the airplane was based, and the pilot's truck was there, and it contained his travel bag. She then filed a missing person report with the Clark County Sheriff's Office, and after an initial local search, an alert notice (ALNOT) was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A multi-agency search and rescue mission was conducted involving the Civil Air Patrol, National Guard, and both the Clackamas and Hood River County Sheriff's departments. Utilizing cell phone forensics, and an ELT signal which could be heard in the vicinity of eastern slopes of Mount Hood, the airplane was discovered on January 29, at 1520.

Due to the treacherous and remote nature of the accident site, an on-scene examination could not be performed. Furthermore, first response personnel, who recovered the pilot the following morning, were not able to gain access to the airplane wreckage. As such, a description of the accident site was compiled using photographs and witness statements provided by first responders.

The fuselage, a wing, and sections of the tail were located on the Eliot Glacier, on the northeast flank of Mount Hood, at an altitude of about 8,700 ft. The area was on a slope of about 70°, and surrounded by crevasses and deep and unstable snow. First response personnel were able to identify an airplane-shaped indentation in the snow, about 1,000 ft above the main wreckage, with aircraft debris trailing down to the fuselage.

Preliminary radar data provided by the FAA indicated a target approaching Mount Hood at 1521 from the north at a mode C reported altitude of about 10,000 ft. The target then followed an anticlockwise, six-mile-wide orbit around the 11,239 ft peak. The target began to get closer to the peak as the orbit continued, until it reached its highest altitude of 11,900 ft about ½ mile north of the summit. The target continued to track around the peak, until it reached the southern side, and then began to rapidly descended. The last recorded radar target was at an altitude of 9,600 ft, about 400 ft northwest of the airplane-shaped indentation in the snow.

Visual meteorological conditions existed at surrounding airports, with relatively light surface wind. Area upper air soundings indicated wind speeds increasing with altitude, reaching about 45 knots out of the north at elevations of between 10,000 and 15,000 ft.

George Regis

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ROCKWELL
Registration: N1332J
Model/Series: 112
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPDX, 107 ft msl
Observation Time: 2253 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 41 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / 3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1400 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2200 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.47 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Portland, OR (TTD)
Destination: Camas, WA (1W1)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  45.377222, -121.692778 (est)

George Regis

HOOD RIVER, Oregon – An airplane was found crashed on the north side of Mount Hood on Tuesday, several days after it left a Camas, Washington airfield.

The Hood River Sheriff’s Office said they received a transponder signal near Eliot Glacier, on the north side of the mountain.

KATU's Chopper 2 confirmed that the tail number on the crashed airplane matched the four-person, single engine aircraft that was reported missing from Grove Field Airport.

The sheriff's office later stated that they believe George Regis, 63, of Battle Ground, Wash. was the sole occupant of the plane, and that he is deceased.

According to Clark County deputies, Regis was last seen when he took off from Grove Field airport on Friday, January 25. Investigators say he was likely headed for Arizona or Texas. Grove Field does not require pilots to file a flight plan before taking off.

On Saturday, his cellphone was pinged near the Newberg-Dundee area. Regis's wife reported him missing on Monday. Investigators managed to narrow down his flight path, and on Tuesday they located the transponder signal.

Regis was described as an experienced pilot who’s had his pilot’s license for nearly 20 years.

No word on what caused the plane to go down.

"Unfortunately, it's just too early to even speculate. We really don't know anything about what happened, what transpired to lead to that event," said Deputy Joel Ives, a spokesperson for the Hood River County Sheriff's Office.

Regis's sister-in-law told KATU late Tuesday night that Regis was "an amazing pilot ... and he knew his plane like no other. And I think the investigation will reveal what happened."

She said the family is in shock and sadden by what happened.

A recovery operation will head out Wednesday morning with teams from the Hood River Crag Rats, Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron, and the Air Force Reserve Command's 304th Rescue Squadron. Deputies expect it to start at first light.

Ives said they do not know how long the plane has been on the mountain or when it crashed.

When asked why they didn't know about the crash sooner, Ives said it likely came down to transponder signal strength and proximity.

"You just have to get the airplanes that are looking much closer to the signal to be able to get it located," he said.

Deputies said they'll focus on recovering the body first. They don't know if they're going to retrieve the plane yet due to safety concerns.

Story and video ➤


  1. I always loved the look of the Rockwell Commanders. Sad end to the pilot & his machine, at least he died doing what he loved. RIP

  2. I think the fact that the horizontal stabilizer separated from the vertical stabilizer is significant. Tail could have separated due to LOC in IMC or structural failure due to corrosion/improper maintenance. I wonder if there were any SB's for the tail on this model that weren't complied with? Sad.

  3. Pilot got his PPL in Sept.2016 and was non-instrument rated. I wonder if he ever took a course in mountain flying as getting that close to a 11,000+ mountain peak surely must have its hazards. I'm thinking he encountered clear-air turbulence which over-stressed the airframe leading to an in-flight break-up. NTSB will figure it all out in due time.

    1. 45 knots at the top of the mountain that day. It wouldn’t even have to break it up to knock it down.

  4. Renowned warbird restorer and airshow pilot Bob Odegaard once said "If I die in an airplane crash don't say I died doing something I loved because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't love crashing"
    Unfortunately, that was his fate as well.

  5. "Pilot got his PPL in Sept.2016 and was non-instrument rated."

    I'm not sure where this info came from, but I knew George since the early '80s - he got his PPL at least 20 years before 2016 and flew out of Troutdale for many years.