Saturday, March 23, 2019

Avid Magnum, N2137G: Accident occurred September 06, 2018 in Carrabassett Valley, Franklin County, Maine

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Carrabassett Valley, ME
Accident Number: GAA18CA538
Date & Time: 09/06/2018, 1050 EDT
Registration: N2137G
Aircraft: Avid AVID MAGNUM
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, after the sky cleared, he departed the airport following another airplane as a flight of two. During the flight, they approached a ridge with no significant turbulence or issues. He added that they were suddenly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and the lead airplane disappeared. He immediately changed course 10° to the left, and as he transitioned to instrument flying, the airplane encountered a downdraft. Shortly thereafter, the windscreen "filled with trees," which he estimated were less than a 100 ft away. He pitched the nose up to dissipate energy, and the airplane subsequently impacted trees and terrain.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The nearest official weather reporting station, which was 16 miles southwest of the accident site, reported, about the time of the accident, 10 miles visibility, temperature 70°F, dew point 66°F, a broken layer at 2,700 ft, a second broken layer at 3,200 ft, and an overcast layer at 4,100 ft. Although these were marginal visual flight rules conditions, given the mountainous terrain, the pilot should have expected that the mountain peaks may become obscured, and with a 4° temperature/dew point spread that visibility conditions could change rapidly.

The pilot recommended that he should have flown his original flight plan, which was at a lower altitude so that he could have avoided unexpected and unpredicted winds and entering IMC. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper decision to initiate the flight in marginal visual flight rules over mountainous terrain, which resulted in an inadvertent encounter with instrument meteorological and downdraft conditions and the subsequent controlled flight into trees and terrain.


Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Below VFR minima - Decision related to condition (Cause)
Below VFR minima - Effect on personnel
Mountainous/hilly terrain - Effect on operation
Downdraft - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

VFR encounter with IMC
Other weather encounter
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Military
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/30/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/09/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 4581 hours (Total, all aircraft), 175 hours (Total, this make and model), 4381 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Avid
Registration: N2137G
Model/Series: AVID MAGNUM No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 0095
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian; Tandem
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/12/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 178.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
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: K8B0, 1825 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1452 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 239°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2700 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Rangeley, ME (M57)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Greenville, ME (3B1)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1025 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 45.133333, -70.333333 (est)

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