Sunday, November 22, 2020

Visual Flight Rules encounter with Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, N24MG; accident occurred February 06, 2020 near Murray Field Airport (KEKA), Humboldt County, California

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Eureka, California
Accident Number: WPR20CA089
Date & Time: February 6, 2020, 06:56 Local
Registration: N24MG
Aircraft: Cessna 208 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi & commuter - Non-scheduled


While the pilot was on a visual approach to the airport and descending over water on the left base leg, about 100 ft above the water's surface, the airplane entered instrument meteorological conditions with no forward visibility. The pilot looked outside his left window to gauge the airplane's altitude and saw "black waves of water approaching extremely rapidly." He tried to pull back on the yoke to initiate a climb, but the nosewheel contacted the water. Subsequently, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted in the water. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's delayed response to initiate a go-around during a night visual approach over water after the airplane entered instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of forward visibility and subsequent impact with the water.


Personnel issues Delayed action - Pilot
Environmental issues Low visibility - Effect on personnel

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern base VFR encounter with IMC (Defining event)
Approach-VFR pattern final Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Flight instructor
Age: 57,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 24, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 6, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 10156 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1282 hours (Total, this make and model), 9644 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 153 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 51 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N24MG
Model/Series: 208 B 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 208B0850
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: January 2, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 8752 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo prop
Airframe Total Time: 19184 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney Canada
ELT: C126 installed, activated 
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-42A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 850 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: ACV
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 06:45 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 190°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 9 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.29 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Sacramento, CA (MHR )
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Arcata/Eureka, CA (ACV )
Type of Clearance: IFR;VFR flight following
Departure Time: 05:30 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 10 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3011 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.823333,-124.14167(est)


  1. Honest question, how does this happen to a 10,000 hour IFR rated pilot? Complacency?

  2. Because the other 99 times nothing happened

  3. I curious if he knew how to operate that Garmin GTN750 properly.

  4. no likely recovery with a PT6A-42A upfront "descending on the left base leg,"