Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Cessna P210N, N174R: Accident occurred July 16, 2021 at Rooke Field Airport (KRFG), Refugio County, Texas

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 Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas Location: Refugio, Texas
Accident Number: CEN21LA323
Date and Time: July 16, 2021, 15:29 Local
Registration: N174R
Aircraft: Cessna P210
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Business

On July 16, 2021, about 1529 central daylight time, a Cessna P210N, N174R, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Refugio, Texas. The pilot was not injured and his passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight.

The pilot reported that he departed Mustang Beach Airport (RAS), Port Aransas, Texas, on runway 12, because the winds were about 10 knots from the southeast. After takeoff, he contacted air traffic control (ATC) to obtain his instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to Addison Airport (ADS), Addison, Texas.

While climbing through 2,000 ft mean sea level (msl), the pilot and his passenger began to smell an odor in the cabin and eventually saw smoke enter the cabin from the center console. The pilot stated that at that time he did not know the source of the smoke, declared an emergency, and asked to land at the nearest airport.

According to ATC data, about 1517, the pilot told the controller that the airplane had a mechanical failure and that he needed to land at the nearest airport. The controller told the pilot the location of Rooke Field Airport (RFG), Refugio, Texas, and cleared him to descend.

About 1519, the pilot told the controller that he had RFG in sight, and he was subsequently cleared for a visual approach to the airport. According to automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data transmitted from the airplane to ATC, the airplane flew westbound past RFG about 4 miles before it made a right turn back toward the airport. The airplane then entered a short left downwind leg before turning onto final approach for runway 32R at RFG. 

The pilot stated that as he approached RFG he was unable to lower the landing gear using the landing gear extension/retraction motor. The pilot concluded that the source of the odor and smoke was likely from the motor and proceeded to extend the landing gear using the emergency landing gear extension procedure. However, after numerous pumps, the green gear-safe light did not illuminate on the instrument panel. The pilot reported that both main landing gear were extended and had concluded that the nose landing gear was likely not fully extended. He decided to continue with the approach to the runway with the flaps partially extended.

At 1528:41, the final ADS-B return was recorded over the displaced threshold for runway 32R at about 75 ft msl. The RFG airport elevation is 56 ft msl. The airplane’s path over the ground was consistent with a landing on runway 32R. Performance calculations based on ADS-B data indicated the airplane’s final calibrated airspeed, ground speed, and vertical speed were 85 knots, 99 knots, and -1,073 feet per minute, respectively. 

The pilot reported that the airplane landed on the runway centerline and that he attempted to keep the nose landing gear off the runway as long as possible. However, as the nose gear contacted the runway, the airplane veered right and off the runway. The airplane then continued to roll and skid several hundred feet until it eventually nosed over.

The nearest aviation weather station was located at Aransas County Airport (RKP), Rockport, Texas, about 22 miles southeast of the accident site. At 1453, about 36 minutes before the accident, the surface winds at RKP were 150° at 9 knots with 18 knot gusts. At 1553, about 24 minutes after the accident, the surface winds at RKP were 170° at 8 knots with 15 knot gusts.

An FAA Airworthiness Inspector conducted an onsite examination of the airplane. Based on wheel marks on the runway and grass easement, and the final location of the wreckage, the airplane had veered off the right side of runway 32R about midfield. The airplane continued off the right side of the runway before it came rest inverted about 2,880 ft from the runway 32R displaced threshold. All 3 landing gear were found fully extended. The green landing gear indicator light did not initially illuminate when electric power was turned-on; however, the green light illuminated after it was unscrewed and reinstalled. The nose landing gear fork and wheel had separated from the nose gear strut assembly. The landing gear motor did not function when tested on the airplane. The emergency landing gear extension system functioned as designed when tested onsite. The airplane was recovered to a secure location where additional testing could be conducted.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N174R
Model/Series: P210 N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: Operating Certificate(s)
Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRKP, 22 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C /25°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2300 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / 15 knots, 170°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 6 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Port Aransas, TX (RAS) 
Destination: Addison, TX (ADS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.296067,-97.326381 (est)

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