Friday, February 26, 2021

Cessna R182 Skylane RG, N3652C: Fatal accident occurred February 26, 2021 near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (KGVL), Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 


Location: Gainesville, GA
Accident Number: ERA21FA140
Date & Time: February 26, 2021, 18:11 Local
Registration: N3652C
Aircraft: Cessna R182 
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 26, 2021, about 1811 eastern standard time, a Cessna R182 airplane, N3652C, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Gainesville, Georgia. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane took off from Lee Gilmore Memorial Airport (GVL), Gainesville Georgia, destined for Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Daytona Beach, Florida.

Prior to the airplane’s departure to DAB, between 1748 and 1758, a pilot at GVL observed the airplane at the end of runway 11, behind the hold short lines, just to the left of the taxiway centerline. At that time the engine was operating and there were no lights illuminated on the airplane.

According to preliminary Federal Aviation Administration air traffic control (ATC) information, while on the ground at GVL the pilot established communication with the clearance delivery controller and requested an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to DAB via a flight plan that included a route of flight over the Dobbins Very High Frequency Omni-directional Radio-range (“Dobbins VOR”). The pilot also requested an en route altitude of 3,000 ft msl. The controller issued the pilot an IFR clearance to DAB and instructed the pilot to “hold for release.” The pilot advised the controller that they would utilize Runway 11 for departure and depart within 5 minutes, to which the controller issued a release for departure with instructions to fly heading 140°, maintain 3,000 ft, and issued a clearance void time of 10 minutes.

The airplane departed GVL about 1808 to the southeast and the pilot established communication with the satellite radar controller. The controller instructed the pilot to “ident” and “say altitude.” The pilot responded that they were climbing through 1,800 for 3,000 ft. The controller radar identified the airplane 1 mile southeast of GVL and issued the current altimeter setting. The airplane then began
turning southwest as it climbed through 2,200 ft. The controller informed the pilot that the airplane appeared to be on a westbound heading and asked if he was on the assigned heading of 140°; however, the pilot did not respond. The airplane began a rapid descent and then the Low Altitude Alert System activated at the controller’s station. The controller issued a safety alert to the pilot as the
airplane was descending through 1,400 ft, but the pilot did not respond. The airplane was then observed on the radar display climbing to 2,500 ft, before it began another rapid descent which was followed by a loss of radar contact.

Preliminary track data indicated that after the airplane departed runway 11 at GVL, it began a right turn and continued climbing, and ground speed increased until about 1809:25, when ground speed started to decrease. The airplane reached a maximum altitude of 2,200 ft msl, before it began to descend. While remaining in a right turn the airplane continued to descend until about 1809:34. The airplane’s ground speed then increased from about 75 knots to about 165 knots before it began to decrease, and then altitude and ground speed varied between 1,700-2,000 ft msl and 100-110 knots. At 1810:19 the airplane’s ground speed began to decrease rapidly from about 100 knots to below 30 knots while climbing from about 2,000 to 2,500 ft, before its ground speed increased and the airplane descended rapidly until track data was lost.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted wooded terrain about 3/4 mile southwest of the approach end of Runway 5 at GVL. The outboard half of left wing was located in a tree. The engine and portions of the right wing, cabin, and empennage were found approximately 550 ft from the initial impact point with the tree.

All the flight control cables exhibited signatures of tension overload with their associated cable ends attached to the cockpit flight controls and flight control surfaces. The attitude indicator was disassembled, and rotational scoring was present on the gyro rotor and the rotor housing. Disassembly of vacuum pump revealed that the composite drive assembly, carbon rotor and carbon vanes were intact.

Examination of the propeller and engine revealed that the propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange and the engine remained attached to the airplane firewall. Both propeller blades were free to rotated in the hub. One propeller blade was displaced aft about 50° and the outboard 8-inches was bent aft about 90°. The blade tip was broken off, and the trailing edge of the bent portion exhibited “S” bending. The tip of the second propeller blade was bent forward and twisted slightly toward the blade face. The engine crankshaft was rotated by turning the propeller and continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were observed from all cylinders except from the No. 4 cylinder which was impact damaged.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N3652C
Model/Series: R182
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGVL,1275 ft msl 
Observation Time: 18:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C /6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / 18 knots, 70°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 400 ft AGL
Visibility: 6 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Gainesville, GA (GVL) 
Destination: Daytona Beach, FL (DAB)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.262222,-83.848611 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Dan Delnoce and Courtney Flanders at their wedding in the Bahamas in April of 2018. Delnoce and Flanders were killed in a plane crash in Gainesville on Friday, February 26, 2021.


Friends said a Gainesville couple who died in a plane crash Friday were "beautiful souls" -- loving, happy, engaged and fun to be around.

Dan Delnoce, 44, and his wife Courtney Flanders, 45, were killed after the Cessna 182 they were in crashed in a neighborhood off Memorial Park Drive shortly after taking off from Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville. Dan Delnoce’s brother, Matthew Delnoce, 39, from Ohio, was also on board the plane and died in the accident. The group was headed to Daytona Beach, Florida.

“They were just super outgoing and gregarious people," said Scott Dixon, owner of Scott's Downtown restaurant and a close friend of the couple. "They were just the kind of people that, when you’re around, you can’t help but feel comfortable and engaged and happy."

As a pilot himself, Dixon said there are always inherent risks with flying.

“What happened, how it happened, why it happened or any of those things are really fairly inconsequential at this point because the bottom line is that … three beautiful souls are no longer with us,” Dixon said.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board remained on the scene of the crash Monday, searching for clues that might tell them what happened to the ill-fated flight.

Dan Delnoce worked as a physician’s assistant for Specialty Orthopaedics in Gainesville, and Flanders was a nurse anesthetist in Gainesville, Dixon said.

“They also worked in professions where they got to see and got to know a lot of people in the community, and I think that that goes a long way toward … how well-loved they are and how incredibly missed that they will be in the community,” Dixon said.

Dan Delnoce and Flanders each had two children from previous marriages, said Russ Moore, a close friend of the couple.

“Courtney’s got two girls, and Dan has a boy and a girl, ages between 8 and 15, give or take. They blended right in and the kids liked each other,” Moore said.

Dan Delnoce and Flanders were coming up on the third anniversary of their marriage, which occurred in an intimate ceremony in the Bahamas in April 2018, Moore said.

“Courtney’s dad had a house down there, and Dan’s mom went with us and it was just the four of us, and they hired an old preacher on the island to come over to the house and married them by the pool,” Moore said about the wedding.

According to Moore, Dan Delnoce would always dive deep into his passions, such as flying and cars.

Moore said he and his wife loved to travel and go to concerts with Dan Delnoce and Flanders, and they even recently took a trip to North Georgia for a special occasion.

“We were just with them on Valentine’s Day, and we went to Dahlonega and went to some wineries, and had dinner that night and spent the night with them,” Moore said.

One of Dixon’s favorite memories of Dan Delnoce and Flanders was a trip to see Jimmy Buffett live during what many would consider unfavorable weather.

“It was an outdoor concert and, you know, the weather was absolutely atrocious. We had thunderstorms and all kinds of rain, thunder and lightning, regardless of that, you could be with them and it would still be the best time, even with adverse situations,” Dixon said.

For those wishing to help the Delnoce family, a GoFundMe page was created Monday morning and had raised over $5,000 as of Monday afternoon.


Dan Delnoce and Courtney Flanders 


Update, March 1: Three people killed when a single-engine plane crashed in the Memorial Park Drive area of Gainesville have been identified.

The victims are Dan Delnoce, 44, of Gainesville; Courtney Flanders, 45, of Gainesville; and Matthew Delnoce, 39, of Ohio, according to a Hall County Sheriff's Office press release Saturday, Feb. 27.

Dan Delnoce and Flanders were married, and Matthew and Dan are brothers.

Scott Dixon of Scott’s Downtown said he was in the restaurant when the news broke. A number of doctors were having dinner when a number of pagers started going off.

Dixon said he met Flanders, a nurse anesthetist, through a mutual friend and met Dan Delnoce when the couple started dating several years ago. He described the pair as “absolutely a joy to be around.” 

Dixon recalled a memory of going with the couple about two years ago to a Jimmy Buffett concert. Even when a torrential downpour washed over the show, they never stopped smiling, he said.

"They were not only individually just really great people to be around, but together they really were just such a great couple and loved each other so much,” Dixon said. “And all of that showed, all of their joy and their joy with each other and joy of life.”

Dan Delnoce and Flanders each had two children who are between the ages of 9 and 15.

Specialty Orthopaedics Dr. John Vachtsevanos said Dan Delnoce had been part of the clinic’s family since 2007 and was also a certified athletic trainer.

“He was a trailblazer in his profession, always finding (a) way to expand the field,” Vachtsevanos wrote in an email. “He was the first athletic trainer to join our practice in 2007, and he paved the way for an additional nine certified athletic trainers to join in the following years.”

Vachtsevanos said Dan had a passion for life, whose “larger than life personality made him the center of attention wherever he went.” 

“He loved to laugh, he loved telling stories, and he never met a stranger,” he said. “His legacy of generosity and loyalty shines through in his children's lives. His commitment to our company and his impact on our employees is immeasurable.”

Dixon said he and Dan Delnoce started flight training around the same time a few years ago, with Delnoce logging well over a couple hundred hours.

One of the last times Dixon saw Flanders was when he requested her to perform the anesthesia for a surgery in December, though they had talked a few times after that.

"They touched a lot of people and a lot of lives in the area, so it's definitely a big loss to the community as well as those of us that were closer with them," Dixon said.

A Gofundme account was set up for the Delnoce family.

The bodies have been taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for autopsy. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are working other aspects of the crash.

The safety board did not have any new information Monday, March 1. A spokesman said a preliminary report should be out in two weeks, and a final report would come in one to two years.

According to the FAA, Dan Delnoce was certified as a private pilot.









HALL COUNTY, Georgia — Investigators have released the names of the three victims that died in a fatal Hall County plane crash on Friday. 

The Hall County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as 44-year-old Daniel Allan Delnoce, of Gainesville, 45-year-old Courtney Flanders, of Gainesville, and 39-year-old Matthew Delnoce of Ohio.

Authorities said the crash happened near Memorial park Drive and Atlanta Highway after the Florida-bound airplane left a local airport on Friday afternoon. Hall County Fire spokesperson Zach Brackett additionally reported that the aircraft crashed into a ravine just north of Memorial Park Drive. 

According to Division Fire Chief Keith Smith with Gainesville FIre, someone traveling in the area was actually one of the first to realize something was wrong.

"A passerby noticed debris on the roadway and called 911," he said. "They also looked down into the - across the street there into the wooded area and did see plane debris."

While in the county, a city fire station was one of the closest to the scene and firefighters from there were among the first to arrive.

Four adults and one child were also displaced due to fuel falling on their home. Smith later elaborated that, not only did fuel land on the mobile home, but a piece of the wing actually plunged into a bedroom. 

"That's part of the debris field that extends down Cross Street, across Memorial Park Drive and down into the wooded area which leads over into Catalina subdivision," he said.

He added that the residents were home at the time and eating dinner but were amazingly unharmed. They have since been referred to the American Red Cross for additional assistance.

Hall County Sheriff's Office will continue to handle the death investigation at this time and will give an update when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation finishes the autopsy. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating and working on other aspects of the crash. 











73 comments:

  1. I'm in the suburban metro Atlanta area and it's IFR all over but nothing major. Light gusting winds and just drizzle. This likely wasn't weather related unless the pilot wasn't IFR rated (not likely based on conditions in the north half of GA). One witness on one of the three network local news stations said he heard and saw the plane flying low then hit trees in a neighborhood. The brilliant reporter didn't think about asking if the engine was making any unusual sounds (even if you are not an aviator or even aviation enthusiast, if you live near and airport long enough, you know an unusual sounding engine when you hear it).

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    1. In reference to your "brilliant reporter" comment: How do you know if the reporter knew - or didn't know - if the witness lives near the airport? Witnesses often speculate, leading to more problems and issues. What is an "unusual" sound? I live near a GA airport and hear "unusual" sounds often. The plane is on the ground and people are dead. To blast the reporter about his/her reporting skills is as moronic as leading witnesses to speculate about sounds. I'd like to see you report from the scene of tragic accident.

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    2. To the Sunday responder: do you ever read NTSB crash reports? Investigators ALWAYS take into consideration a witness report of an engine sounding rough, sputtering, etc. Get bent.

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    3. And they rarely use that info to come to a conclusion, because witness "reports" are notoriously innacurate. Also, speaking of innacurate, METAR at the time was 4 miles and OVC 400', so your sentiment that the weather was "nothing major" is also "brilliant." The pilot had an instrument rating since June of 2020, but the rating doesn't mean a thing if you're not proficient.

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  2. 300 feet viability winds were 0710 looks like they were headed back to RW 05 to land

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  3. Plane co owned with a Roy Shuman, who is instrument rated. The weather is fine for an instrument rated pilot. Deadly for someone not instrument rated.

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    1. Never ever takeoff in a GA single engine at night in LIFR conditions. You are playing roulette.

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    2. You are choosing an elevated risk when you do that, but only playing roulette if you don't know your airplane thoroughly, it isn't maintained to near-perfection whatever the cost, or you don't have your options prepared and well-practiced for when something goes wrong. I have flown commercially for 36 years and departed LIFR at night in a single within these bounds countless times with no serious consequences. As Richard Collins at Flying Magazine used to note from fatal accident data, I actually think the threat is greater if it's a light twin because the temptation is to try to keep it flying no matter what, even if the remaining performance is insufficient to clear surrounding obstacles. The result is usually higher speed and less or no control on impact.

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    3. Pilot "verified" aircraft readiness by flying further than the distance to Daytona during the day prior to the accident. Accident day was to be the 4th consecutive flying day in a row.

      Unfortunately, the risks from equipment malfunction, weather and pilot error aren't eliminated just because everything was okay during yesterday's flight. It is still playing roulette.

      Takeoff in those weather conditions limited chances for safe emergency return or off-airport landing, but it was not yet a night time takeoff there at 6 pm EST.

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    4. Your second paragraph is applicable to an airline aircraft that just arrived at the gate an hour ago as well. You never know how much can go wrong on the next climbout. Does it normally? Fortunately, no. Is it "roulette" just because it's a single? Or does that also apply to a twin? How big of a twin does it have to be, or how much training and experience does the pilot(s) have, before it's no longer roulette? Risk is on a spectrum with many variables controlling.

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    5. Was commenting primarily on the misconception some may have that the previous days of flying "verified" reliability, not challenging your point about risk reductions attainable from best practice maintenance and disciplined, well practiced piloting.

      Driving, flying, eating a chicken sandwich - it is all roulette.

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    6. Deadly for someone "instrument rated" IF they are not stone-cold INSTRUMENT PROFICIENT.

      The rating itself is deadly if it promotes a sense of automatic competence with all aspects of instrument flying. Instrument skills are perishable, and good judgement is a prerequisite to longevity as an IFR pilot.

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    7. Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning little wheel.
      Since I doubt you're talking about wheels, perhaps you mean Russian Roulette.

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    8. Incorrect. Aircraft was recently sold.

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  4. According to FlightAware, they took off at 6:09 and crashed at 6:10, never getting more than 800 feet above the ground. They were initially headed SE then made a right turn back towards the airport. Their last heading was NW. I would assume they lost power and were trying to turn back to the airport.

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    1. I'm going to bet he got the leans while attempting to get the autopilot activated.

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    2. The ADS-B data suggests power was available throughout the flight, and that this was a classic LOC on an instrument departure.

      NTSB will get to the bottom of this, but let this be a lesson to all who chose to operate single-pilot low IMC: spatial disorientation will get ya' if you are not solidly prepared for this type of flying. Most hobby pilots are not.

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    3. For all the crap the Cirrus gets on here, being able to pull that chute at 500+ AGL is awfully nice in situations like this.

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    4. on "departure there will be a limitation on minimum AGL altitude for autopilot engagement, usually 400 feet in larger airplanes, but often 1,000 feet in lighter airplanes." https://airfactsjournal.com/2020/02/when-to-disengage-the-autopilot/

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  5. (KGVL)26-Feb 05:53PM LIFR Wind 80°@9 kt Overcast 400 Vis 4 miles (Downward trend) 7° Temp 44° DP 42° Humidity 93% 30.16 in Hg DA 314 ft Mist

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    1. AWOS METAR for 6:10 PM (23:10Z) added light rain to go with the mist and 400 foot overcast. Last ADS-B data point was at 23:10:29Z in Adsbexchange track.

      KGVL 262305Z AUTO 07005KT 4SM BR OVC004 07/06 A3017
      KGVL 262310Z AUTO 07007KT 4SM -RA BR OVC004 07/06 A3017
      KGVL 262315Z AUTO 07011KT 4SM -RA BR OVC004 07/06 A3015

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  6. He was an instrument rated pilot and had filed for 3000 feet an instrument altitude. I don’t believe he was going to scud run all the way to DAB, as was suggested. He was a very competent pilot according to other pilots who knew him. He will be missed by the aviation community at the Gainesville airport.

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  7. Low speed at the end and wild vertical rates show in spatial column at left for ADS-B data in the flight track shown by Adsbexchange. That airport is elevation 1,277 feet MSL, his highest MSL altitude was 2,300.

    Click the "K" tab in link below to show speed, altitude and time for data points. Panel at left "spatial" info shows vertical rate as you position on each spot along the track.

    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=34.258&lon=-83.848&zoom=18.1&showTrace=2021-02-26

    Zoomed out:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=34.256&lon=-83.834&zoom=14.2&showTrace=2021-02-26

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    1. Other Recent Flights:

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-25

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-24

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-23

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-21

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-20

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a42180&lat=33.624&lon=-84.183&zoom=7.8&showTrace=2021-02-19

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    2. The last ABS-B data point is short of the reported crash location in a ravine just north of Memorial Park Drive.

      Flight track data does not show the drop into the ravine.

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    3. The descent rates make me wonder if there was a mechanical issue.

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    4. The descent rate after a groundspeed of 30 knots makes me wonder if there was a stall / spin

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    5. Ground speed recovered after the low of 30 knots. 51 knots was recorded at the last data point in the Adsbexchange track (23:10:29Z). Altitude was 2300' then, which is 1000' AGL.

      The aircraft regained enough speed after that last data point to continue forward through the locations where parts were found before ending up in the ravine.

      The 30 knot data point coordinates are red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.258+-83.848

      The 51 knot data point coordinates are red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.259+-83.848

      Mobile home front area location of ribbed control surface that the fireman is looking at by the fire hose is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26141+-83.84903

      For the intersection with pieces visible on both sides of the road, the larger piece location is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26175+-83.84870

      The ravine north of Memorial Park Drive is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26215+-83.84860

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  8. Carb icing chart shows severe icing probability for the conditions at the time (Temp 44° DP 42° Humidity 93%). Mist with light rain is 100% RH.

    Although his carbureted O-540 Lycoming is less prone to icing with the carb mounted to the oil sump, it is not immune like fuel injected IO series engines.

    Carb Icing Chart:
    https://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgSAIB.nsf/dc7bd4f27e5f107486257221005f069d/f319315cfc90c3f7862575e500439fa0/$FILE/CE-09-35.pdf

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    1. I flew a 182RG with the carbureted Lycoming 540 for almost 10 years; carb ice happened regularly when conditions were right, but never were a big deal when you are spring-loaded to expect it and add Carb heat. But it raises the heart rate because when it happens it happens suddenly, and right after take-off during the initial climb (a few times it happened during the take-off-roll).

      The O540 has the reputation as one of the most reliable engines -- I never had a problem. The only known single weak point of failure is the "dual-pack" type magnetos that run off a common gear. So I always paid close attention to keep the magnetos in tip-top shape.

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    2. You were lucky; he was not.

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  9. Audio from the CTAF it's clear he was really good at communicating but sounds a little rushed to me... https://archive.liveatc.net/kgvl/KGVL1-CTAF-Feb-26-2021-2300Z.mp3. RIP fellow aviator.

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    1. At about 7 minutes in the mp3 file, "Gainesville traffic, Skylane 52 Charlie departing one one"

      Second voice comes on at about 14 minutes, calls for November three six five two charlie but no response from the accident pilot. A third voice responds to help out and discussion determines no traffic at the field, then second voice says "Alright, I'll let 'em know, Atlanta's looking for somebody"

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    2. The pilot's CTAF call departing 22 on the previous day sounded just as fast (Heard in the Feb-25-2021-1030Z.mp3 LiveAtc file at about the 17 minute point). Sounding a little rushed was routine, apparently.

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  10. N3652C was sold by Danette Dial and Roy Shuman in December 2020 to an IFR rated pilot and is now based in Gainesville, Georgia.

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  11. From the ADSB data it looks like the pilot had a solid plan, return via either ILS or RNAV to runway 5. ADSB data can be off, but given the track data it appears he ran out of airspeed or altitude. Lessons to keep in mind, airspeed is king, never drop below DMM, ever. Have a plan in the event you have an engine out during take off, preset the avionics for your return to the field.

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    1. said by many ...
      "German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke.

      "No battle plan," he sagely noted, "survives contact with the enemy."

      When your plan meets the real world, the real world wins. Nothing goes as planned. Errors pile up. Mistaken suppositions come back to bite you. The most brilliant plan loses touch with reality.

      Or as Burns puts it, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" - but he was only partly right. They don't often ("aft," or "oft") go askew... they invariably do."

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    2. Foolish response. So it's best to have no plans whatsoever? I think I will ignore your sage advice when I am flying.

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    3. Not foolish at all, but rather entirely relevant: thinking you are capable of handling everything is what gets pilots killed. Humility -- knowing you are vulnerable -- forms the basis of good aeronautical decisions. And when you find yourself in a situation for which you're ill-prepared, a successful outcome requires nimbleness that comes from experience and skills.

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  12. Pilot may have attempted a "zoom" maneuver starting at 23:10:13.
    (Copy text below into a text editor to restore column alignments.)

    Graph of last 40 seconds ADS-B data points:
    Altitude (A) ______________________GroundSpeed (V)
    2500 |V...|v...|....|....|....|....|....|....| 140
    2400 |....|....|....|....|v.v.|....|....A....| 130
    2300 |....|....|....|...v|....v....|....|..AA| 120
    2200 |....|....V.v.v|..v.|....|.Vv.|..A.|....| 110
    2100 |....|....|....|....|....|....|A...|....| 100
    2000 |....|....|....|....|....|...vA....|....| 090
    1900 |....|....|...A|..A.|....|...A|....|....| 080
    1800 |....|....|.A..|....|....A.AA.v....|....| 070
    1700 |....|....A....|...A|A.A.|....|....|....| 060
    1600 |....|....|....|....|....|....|V...|...v| 050
    1500 |A...|A...|....|....|....|....|....|..v.| 040
    1400 |....|....|....|....|....|....|..v.v....| 030
    1300 |....|....|....|....|....|....|....|....| 020
    1200 |....|....|....|....|....|....|....|....| 010
    ---->0----5----0----5----0----5----0----5----0 000
    23:09:50_:55__:0___:5___:10__:15__:20_____23:10:30

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    1. Very interesting... Can you please present this data in a usable format? The copy / paste doesn't seem to work.

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    2. Simple text editors like Notepad use the same width for each character position. Online simple text editor below will work:

      Go to link below, click "create new note" & copy/ paste the text into the yellow window that opens. Shows perfectly.

      https://www.editpad.org/

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    3. I found the same data in tabular form:

      https://www.radarbox.com/data/registration/N3652C/1539902355/log

      ...looks like severe trouble with pitch control, starting with an 18-second period level at 200 ft AGL while accelerating, consistent with somatogravic illusion. The subsequent oscillations in pitch, and rapid dive to ~100 AGL, suggest loss of basic aircraft control in IMC. The final event appears to have been a stall / spin starting at 1,000 AGL.

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    4. The Radarbox.com linked chart supports visually looking for reduction in engine power delivery. At first glance, the drop in ground speed from 107 knots to 76 knots during climb at 23:09:21 to 23:09:31 looks like engine power may have dropped off there.

      Detailed analysis below shows power loss to be unlikely at that point in time. The loss of speed was from climb pitch that was too steep. The comment above about loss of basic aircraft control in IMC appears to properly account for the pitch oscillations.

      Analysis:
      The 200 feet gained in 8 seconds from 23:09:13 to 23:09:21 works out to 1500 ft/minute rate of climb. Ground speed increased from 104 to 107. The R182 POH says max rate of climb at sea level is 1140 ft/minute. Did the 182 climb at 1500 ft/minute and not lose speed?

      ADS-B reports altitudes with 100 foot granularity. 200 feet of change would be reported for any change between 151 and 249 feet. The rate of climb for 151 feet over 8 seconds is 1132 ft/minute, a more realistic rate when compared to the POH.

      The 300 feet gained in the next 10 seconds from 23:09:21 to 23:09:31 works out to 1800 ft/minute rate of climb. Ground speed decreased from 107 to 76.

      Data granularity reports 300 feet for any change in altitude between 251 and 349. The previous reading was over reported by 49. That makes the change reported during the drop to 76 knots between 300 and 398, representing 1800 to 2388 ft/minute rate of climb.

      The rate of climb during the speed drop off to 76 knots greatly exceeds the climb capability of the R182. Speed was traded for altitude. No reduction of engine power is indicated there.

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  13. What's a "zoom maneuver?". They call it "best glide speed" for a reason. Higher speed only gets you to the ground faster, not further.

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    1. A "zoom" refers to an abrupt climb that exceeds the available thrust so that the plane trades airspeed for altitude. During a normal climb, airspeed is typically kept constant so that the rate of climb is a function only of excess thrust.

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  14. Gainesville, Ga. Jacobs Media WDUN reports on the married couple and pilot's brother. Six children are impacted by the tragedy. A GoFundme has been set up.

    https://accesswdun.com/print/2021/3/983517/friends-remember-gainesville-couple-killed-in-deadly-plane-crash

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/delnoce-family

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  15. Agree with another response, this is classic Somatogravic Illusion. Exacerbated when entering the clouds immediately after takeoff. Pitch up and down, alternating between senses and instruments. This was hard IFR weather and one needs to bring their "A" game.

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    1. Hearsay, but apparently this plane was recently acquired. His "usual" plane was well-equipped with modern avionics, including a fully-integrated autopilot, but this one had an old-school vacuum-driven AI (attitude indicator) with no FD (flight director). Transitioning from full automation to raw-data flying is tough even for a professional.

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    2. I disagree with the Somatogravic Illusion being the issue. While the conditions for this illusion are nearly perfect the flight profile is much different than an accident caused by this. As I understand the illusion the pilot enters IMC shortly after takeoff (true in this case), the vestibular organs in ear tell the pilot that they are pitching up and the pilot corrects by pitching down and either flying level or descending, while thinking they are still climbing. These tend to be high speed CFIT, while this accident looks more like a stall spin. Somatogravic illusion cause the pilot to think they are stalling, the pilot noses over and dives into the ground. This pilot actually stalled and spun it in.

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    3. Wasn't a stall spin, debris path is long and parts left behind over a distance. Previous comments provided discussion and pinned google map views that locate the parts and the ravine if you are willing to be informed about those locations.

      Here are three locations, reposted for your convenience:

      Mobile home front area location of ribbed control surface that the fireman is looking at by the fire hose is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26141+-83.84903

      For the intersection with pieces visible on both sides of the road, the larger piece location is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26175+-83.84870

      The ravine north of Memorial Park Drive is red pinned here:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26215+-83.84860

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    4. One more:
      Mapped location of wingtip cap, across street from mobile home:
      maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:34.26111+-83.84891

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    5. 232 feet is the distance from the first to the last pin. If the plane broke up in flight, it was very late. However, this can also be explained by contact with trees at a very high speed.

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    6. Posting of the locations did not include any suggestion of inflight breakup. Without question they were going through the trees.

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    7. 315 feet to get to the ravine from the wingtip cap location.

      Locations were mapped to provide substantiation that it was not another "smoking hole" stall spin impact.

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    8. I know you weren't implying inflight breakup. But lots of consumers of this discussion are interpreting the "large debris field" as such. This was NOT a large debris field.

      Thank you for the maps links: very helpful to understanding that this was not a stall-spin, and likely a high speed dive, perhaps with an attempt at a last-minute pull-up upon breaking out of the cloud base. Very sad story.

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    9. Mapping does add a lot. Look at the Radarbox graph if you didn't already see the altitude trace. Keep in mind that the recorded ADS-B data does not include the pass through the trees.

      At the end of the data, they climbed to 2400, slowed to 30 knots ground speed, recovered to 51 knots at 2300', got below where receivers could pick up any more ADS-B data and went through the trees. The locations of last ADS-B coordinates are also mapped in earlier comments.

      Altitude trace (not including pass through trees):
      https://www.radarbox.com/data/registration/N3652C/1539902355/log

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    10. The first dive shows a descent rate of 8,000 fpm (!). This is a vertical speed of about 78 knots. The horizontal speed (ie: projected over the surface) is 146 knots. This corresponds to an airspeed of about 165 knots, (assuming no wind).

      5 to 10 seconds later, they are in a 4,000 fpm climb.

      Can anyone calculate the G-forces associated with an 11- or 12,000 fpm change over 6 to 10 seconds?

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    11. Before going too far with vertical rates, examine the vertical rates when they were about halfway around the total track. Vertical rates are large, but next data point reports little to no altitude change.

      Those halfway point rates cannot represent reality. Be careful using the rates for G-force calculations anywhere along the track.

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    12. The comment about adjacent data points that don't change altitude but have big rates was made because of the pair at 23:09:42 and 23:09:46 in the Adsbexchange track at the end of the first dive.

      Looking closer, those adjacent data points are some kind of glitch. They have identical altitude, speed and vertical rate information. The duplicate info at 23:09:46 was when the first dive's pullout had just begun.

      The vertical rate winds up rapidly in the Adsbexchange track for the dive to 1300' MSL from 2000' MSL during 23:09:34 to 23:09:42. The rate reduces right before the data glitch at 23:09:46, showing positive afterwards at 23:09:48 with +4608 feet/minute and 1500' MSL.

      Vertical rate progression in the dive is easier to visualize by listing them in sequence: -1600 @ 23:09:34, -4160 @23:09:35, -6976 @23:09:37, -8192 @23:09:38, -8000 @23:09:40, -6784 @23:09:42.

      The 1978 R182 POH lists 112 knots max maneuvering speed for 3100 lbs, 101 knots for 2550 lbs. That 165 knot high-G pullout put a lot of load on elevator surfaces, torque tube rivets and controls.

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  16. Somatogravic illusion appears to have occurred early in the flight (slight descent during acceleration upon entering clouds), but it did not lead to the classic CFIT. However, subsequent ADS-B data suggests complex spatial disorientation and aggressive flight control inputs. The SG illusion was only one component of the accident sequence.

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  17. Without knowing what happened here, some parts of the discussions revolving around the possibility of IMC disorientation make me cringe.

    Shouldn't any IFR-trained pilot, even if not current and proficient, be able to fly on instruments straight, be it level or climbing? Not an approach and landing, just straight and above terrain. They know to trust the instruments and from the start of the take-off roll have to be disciplined to anticipate misleading sensations while "forcing" themselves to dismiss them. And shouldn't such a pilot know the autopilot/wingsleveler like the back of her/his hand and not hesitate to use it any moment just as one pitches for best glide?

    Are some with that level of training and interest and knack for it (or perhaps not really?) just indifferent when flying an aircraft, view it more as a fun toy for joy rides and do not (want to) see the dangers with, unlike in many other "parts" of life, very little room and time for error?

    The other thing that puzzles me are the GoFundMe pages for pilots who can afford their own aircraft: don't they insure the dependents' lives even better than their aircraft, make sure everyone in their family knows where to find the will and insurance documents and have an emergency fund available?
    Flying yourself is a beautiful hobby and opportunity to use for one's business - that can wipe out a lot quickly and one has to be a responsible adult, be realistic and have an adult conversation with their family.

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    Replies
    1. Re: "...the possibility of IMC disorientation make me cringe"

      Unfortunately, scenarios like this are all-too-common: accidents in IMC encounters during maneuvering flight (as opposed to a stable climb or descent through a layer, or a brief cruise through some enroute scattered clouds). Maneuvering flight often occurs close to the ground, and the maneuvers, accelerations, and distractions immediately after takeoff make low IMC departures a very serious game.

      Weather like this is less common, so pilots build lots of "instrument experience" in mostly visual conditions, logging "instrument time", and failing to obtain enough recurrent IMC training (such as "hood time") to be able to bring their "A"-game on days like this.

      As pilots, we "self-certify" every flight we make. An accident sequence often begins with a flawed decision to make a particular flight in the first place, and saying "no" -- and therefore depriving ourselves, our friends, and our family of what is supposed to be a fun trip -- is often made with a strong bias toward "go".

      Studying accidents like this are a potent tool for all of to become better pilots: recognizing how accidents happen and the painful consequences of poor decisions.

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    2. Thanks for your reply, I wrote the above.

      What I meant was how come any IFR-trained pilot doesn't avoid what you described, maneuvering, when sensation and instruments don't match and then levels the wings/tuns on the autopilot and calls ATC to advise that they can't fly the STAR/SIDS or whatever? No A-game needed.

      This here wasn't even inadvertent VMC-to_IMC but planned IFR with low ceiling, so one knows what and when it's happening - but of course we have no idea what else might have been going on distracting the pilot(s?).

      Again, my comment was specifically about IFR-trained pilots, who understand the fallacies of one's sensations, not leveling the aircraft manually or with the autopilot and then figuring things out in so many cases here on KR. They must know what is going on when things don't add up in IMC.
      And those VFR-only who have fancy aircraft with a very capable autopilot straying into IMC but without any idea what it can do for them - that's the lack of knack to always learn more I don't understand even if not trained/rated.

      As you wrote yourself: "serious game" - this stuff has to be taken seriously simply because we not only have no innate senses to deal with it but are also being confused by our senses while left only with instruments and our eyes trained onto them.
      Even if all the training, the second nature stuff, has faded, can't one force oneself to dismiss the sensations and trust the instruments, because the understanding of what is happening is still there and never fades?

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    3. Spatial disorientation is powerful and can overwhelm even experienced pilots. "Understanding" is -- unfortunately -- insufficient in some situations because "forcing oneself to dismiss the sensations" is only part of the solution: the pilot must be able to quickly replace those sensations with proficiency at interpreting and responding to the instruments.

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    4. " IFR-trained pilots " does not equate experienced and recurrant training IFR-trained pilots. As the record attest, IFR-trained pilots with tens of thousands of current hours have succumb to Spatial disorientation.
      Also, on "departure there will be a limitation on minimum AGL altitude for autopilot engagement, usually 400 feet in larger airplanes, but often 1,000 feet in lighter airplanes." https://airfactsjournal.com/2020/02/when-to-disengage-the-autopilot/

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  18. Based on available data I think ATC gave the pilot a frequency change as he was attempting to engage the autopilot, which may not have been set up properly before departure. This led to spatial disorientation. There may have been other distractions in the cabin.

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    Replies
    1. Plausible story line, but we will never know that level of detail.

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    2. It is possible to know whether he had radio comm with ATC. Pilot made his CTAF announcement for takeoff and was expected to get in contact with Atlanta TRACON after airborne since there is no tower on the field. FAA's controller recordings will resolve the comm question.

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    3. Preliminary report confirms ATC was communicating, had pilot ident and gave an altimeter setting as they passed through 1800 feet just after takeoff. Required turning the knob and looking at the kollsman window, went into the first dive around that time.

      "Pilot established communication with the satellite radar controller. The controller instructed the pilot to “ident” and “say altitude.” The pilot responded that they were climbing through 1,800 for 3,000 ft. The controller radar identified the airplane 1 mile southeast of GVL and issued the current altimeter setting."

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    4. Preliminary report suggests that Bryan is correct that spatial disorientation was underway when the pilot was communicating with controllers, while autopilot was not yet engaged.

      The pilot had deviated off course to 230 degrees at his 1800 foot "say altitude" read back instead of being established on the 140 degree departure heading he had been instructed to fly.

      Distracted while setting the altimeter, the pilot added diving to the turn that was already well underway. No report of any power problem at the 1800 foot read back.

      Sure does look like a simple case of spatial disorientation going divergent while hand flying in IMC.

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  19. Preliminary is released in CAROL:

    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/102681/pdf

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  20. Pilot was given all of the info he needed for autopilot setup before takeoff. Unfortunate that he did not manage to get it engaged, for whatever reason.

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