Sunday, September 05, 2021

Controlled Flight into Terrain: Cessna 182D Skylane, N8885X; accident occurred September 06, 2020 near Coeur d'Alene Airport (KCOE), Hayden, Kootenai County, Idaho

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 
Accident Number: WPR20CA299
Date & Time: September 6, 2020, 20:56 Local 
Registration: N8885X
Aircraft: Cessna 182
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that during a cross-country flight at dusk, the airplane encountered greater head winds than planned. The pilot made several engine power and mixture adjustments to compensate for the increased wind velocity and to maintain altitude. About 15 miles prior to reaching the destination airport, the engine lost power. He attempted to troubleshoot the loss of engine power to no avail and initiated a forced landing. The airplane collided with trees and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, the fuselage and empennage. The pilot believed that his fuel planning for the accident flight was insufficient, which resulted in fuel exhaustion. The pilot reported that there were no 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 inadequate fuel planning, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and a collision with trees and terrain. 


Personnel issues Fuel planning - Pilot
Aircraft Fuel - Fluid level
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Emergency descent Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 38, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: October 18, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 12, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 217.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 180 hours (Total, this make and model), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N8885X
Model/Series: 182D 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1961
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 18253285
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: September 4, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2348 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3895.3 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-470-R
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 230 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCOE, 2307 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 01:56 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 254°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Livingston, MT (LVM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Coeur d'Alene, ID (COE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 18:05 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 2320 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing; Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 47.786109,-116.719444(est)


  1. From the pilot statement it looks as if he calculated fuel needed correctly. What is amazing is how he walked away from this crash, the airplane is totally destroyed. Amazing… more like “thank god”.
    I have always used a kneeboard with total fuel onboard minus (time/fuel flow/gallons used). Knowing what I depart with and what I burned has always been a pencil and paper exercise. The digital gauges are there, to correspond rather than be the only value.

  2. "headwinds were greater with altitude planned" - his 2:58 flight time was probably exceeded by a an hour or more.

  3. Or you could stop at KMSO and get fuel.

  4. Inexcusable. He's lucky to be alive. But he shouldn't have a pilot's license.

  5. It's the wind's fault!
    Jeez, what is wrong with these people? Another nice airplane destroyed because the pilot couldn't figure out how much gas to put in it. Not only did he not have enough to get wherever he was going, he didn't have required reserve either.
    It's not rocket science - gallons per hour/hours flown

  6. Not only is this guy an incompetent pilot, but sounds like he was lying to people after the accident.

    According to the "Interview Summary" shown above, while talking with the responding law enforcement officer, "...the pilot stated that he ran out of fuel. The pilot later recanted his statement specific to running out of fuel, citing insurance purposes, and asserted that he had an engine issue."

    FAA should jerk this guy's license permanently before he kills someone.