Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Cessna T310R, N310JA: Fatal accident occurred November 21, 2021 near Chadron Municipal Airport (KCDR), Dawes County, Nebraska

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 traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Textron; Wichita, Kansas

Location: Chadron, Nebraska
Accident Number: CEN22FA042
Date and Time: November 21, 2021, 19:20 Local
Registration: N310JA
Aircraft: Cessna T310R 
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 21, 2021, about 1920 mountain standard time, a Cessna T310R, N310JA, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Chadron, Nebraska. The private pilot and 2 passengers sustained fatal injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane landed at the Chadron Municipal Airport (CDR), dropped off a passenger, and refueled. About 40 minutes later, the airplane departed from runway 30 at CDR in dark night, visual meteorological conditions. Airport security video showed that the airplane’s takeoff roll and liftoff were normal. Automated Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data showed the airplane climbed to about 200 ft, turned to the right, and descended into rising terrain.

The initial ground impact was about 3,347 ft MSL, on an approximate heading of 350°. The wreckage debris was dispersed over 600 ft from the initial ground impact point. A post-crash fire consumed most of the airplane. The distribution of the debris was consistent with a nearly wings level, nose down, high speed impact. Ground scars from the propeller blades of both engines were present and consistent with rotation at the time of impact.

Although most of the airplane wreckage was consumed by fire, examinations of the existing flight controls did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. Both engines were examined and neither revealed any pre-impact anomalies. Fuel was present in each engine’s fuel distribution system. Testing of the fuel source at CDR revealed that the fuel was normal and had no contaminants. The damage to the propeller blade assemblies from both left and right engines were symmetrical, consistent with the engines producing similar power at the time of impact.

Maintenance logbooks were reviewed, and no outstanding discrepancies were found. The pilot’s logbooks were reviewed, and all qualifications, ratings, and certificates were up to date.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N310JA
Model/Series: T310R
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: NightDark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCDR,3296 ft msl 
Observation Time: 18:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C /-8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Chadron, NE 
Destination: Fort Collins, CO (FNL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.84705,-103.11431 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Sydnee Ann Brester
OCTOBER 10, 2002 – NOVEMBER 21, 2021

Sydnee Ann Brester passed away in a plane crash Sunday, November 21, 2021 near Chadron, Nebraska.

Sydnee was born October 10, 2002 to JR and Angie Brester. She was always known as the “Bonus Baby.” She loved life. Sydnee graduated from Gering High School in May of 2021. She was currently attending WNCC on a vocal scholarship. She was pursuing a degree in Human Services. She wanted to be a victims advocate. She was working at Yoshis and was a lifeguard for the Gering Pool in the summer. Her greatest joys in life were her many friends, boyfriend James, Justin, Brenden, Carlee, her fur babies Jager, Luna, all of her kitties at James’ house, and singing. Sydnee will be so greatly missed by all the lives she touched, not a day will go by without a thought of her.

Sydnee is survived by her parents JR and Angie, brothers Justin (Gering), Brenden/Maddie (Lincoln), sister Carlee (San Antonio), the love of her life James Bruner, Grandma Laura and Papa Lon Asselin, Great Grandma Audre Asselin, Aunts and Uncle Jill Asselin, Soni and Rick Smith, cousins Paije/Chris Winkler, Payton and Bri Mooney, Nikki and Chase Danielzuk, Derek and Katie Smith, a countless number of friends and great aunts and uncles. She is preceded in death by Grandparents Sonny and Colleen Brester and other relatives.

Funeral Services will be held Saturday, November 27 at 2:00 pm at Grace Chapel in Scottsbluff, NE. Services will be livestreamed through Gering Memorial Chapel’s Facebook page. Memorial may be given to the family to be designated at a later date.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Brester family.

Noah Bruner, 21

Matthew Bruner, chief medical officer at Regional West Medical Center.

SCOTTSBLUFF -- A noted Nebraska Panhandle physician, his son and a Gering teenager have been identified as those killed in a Chadron plane crash Sunday.

Killed in the crash were Dr. Matthew Bruner, 44, his oldest son, Noah Bruner, 21, and Sydnee Brester, 19 of Gering. Their names were released Tuesday by Dawes County Attorney Vance Haug.

Matthew Bruner was the chief medical officer at Regional West Medical Center, and on Tuesday, Gov. Pete Ricketts took note of his death. Speaking at an event in Scottsbluff, Ricketts said that Bruner had worked closely with the state on the response to COVID-19.

“It’s a loss felt all across the state,” Ricketts said, according to KNEB-AM.

An obstetrician and gynecologist, Bruner began practicing in Scottsbluff in 2009, joining the practice at The Women’s Center.

According to the Colorado company where Noah Bruner worked, the group was on its way back from the Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings football game in Minneapolis.

They had dropped off James Bruner in Chadron and were enroute to Fort Collins, Colorado, when the crash occurred. James is a brother to Noah and son to Matthew Brunner.

Noah Bruner was a graduate of Scottsbluff High School and Chadron State College and worked as an operations assistant for Power 2 Play Sports in Windsor, Colorado.


  1. Chadron Municipal airport is elevation 3298' MSL. Arcraft only achieved about 100 feet of climb before vertical rates went negative.

    Accident takeoff (leg 2 for the day):

    Leg 1 coming to Chadron from Minnesota:

    2020 for sale listing/equipment/engine hours at the time:

    1. The transmitted ADS-B altitude of 3000' MSL when N310JA rolled out while landing at Chadron 35 minutes earlier provides a simple on-field baseline for interpretation of altitude readings transmitted during the accident takeoff. (No need to convert the 29.92 referenced ADS-B data for local altimeter when a wheels on runway ADS-B altitude transmission is captured).

      RW21 Landing UTC Day 22 0143Z (1843 MST) METAR:
      KCDR 220145Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR M02/M08 A3023
      Landing track:

      Looking again at the accident takeoff, the aircraft climbed to 3200 feet from the transmitted 3000 foot on-runway value, a 200 foot difference. Adjusted for Chadron Municipal airport's elevation of 3298' MSL, the aircraft's true altitude reached 3500' MSL approaching the elevation 3500' MSL hilltops north of the airfield.

      The FAA reportedly stated that the crash location was a mile and a half north of the airport, in the hilly terrain there. If that distance is accurate, the ADS-B data recorded in Adsbexchange does not include the final mile.

      Weather/wind at the time of accident takeoff:
      RW30 Accident takeoff UTC Day 22 0220Z (1920 MST) METAR:
      KCDR 220220Z AUTO 24002KT 10SM CLR M02/M08 A3025

      If you want to compare to the morning takeoff from Chadron:
      RW03 Takeoff UTC Day 21 1335Z (0635 MST) METAR:
      KCDR 211335Z AUTO 16005KT 10SM CLR M02/M06 A3037
      Takeoff track:

  2. Three fatalities.

  3. long day, long weekend, maybe long work week; departing into a dark sky, speculate spatial disorientation.

    1. Agree. Dr Bruner flew to Fort Collins an Saturday to pick up Noah. They returned to Scottsbluff 0030 Sunday. They departed with Sydnee for Chadron about 0600 on Sunday to pick up James, and then on to Minneapolis. Not much sleep before a long day.

    2. "Once a person is in a bank and moves his or her head without having visual reference to the ground or horizon, 100 percent of the time that person will experience spatial disorientation."

  4. I don’t agree with very many comments on KR but I do agree 100% with these. I fly air ambulance in a PC12, recurrent every 6 months at FlightSafety, and the airplanes that I fly are well equipped. Without a doubt a single pilot night takeoff into inky blackness in the middle of the night is BY FAR the most dangerous job that I have to perform. VFR, IFR, it doesn’t matter; a lack of solid horizontal reference outside the plane is like playing with a rattlesnake for the first 1000 ft. And I’m a highly skilled professional, very proficient AND well rested. The next worse thing is when there is a well travelled highway at some odd angle up ahead at night. DANGEROUS.

    1. Hmmm, I banged off the pointy end of a ship at night many times, and I had no problem being on the gauges flying the jet up and away from the water. Try pitching deck cat shots. I also have taken off on land on very black nights in a C172 and a C182, and again, fly the gauges and climb. So what is / are your points? If you feel like you're playing with a rattlesnake, then find another vocation.

    2. Mike S. All that carrier experience has left you…um, salty. He has some great points, you sound like your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash…no wonder most professional pilots find many of you guys so insufferable.

    3. Mike S, your take is spatial d is non issue after your years of carrier flight training and op flights that ingrained night flying so deeply that you can do it practically in your sleep. With general aviation, that extensive training and flight experience is rare. In conclusion, we're not immune to the leans or other forms spatial d, especially when fatigue sets in and concentration lags.

    4. I’m absolutely certain that there are quite a few air gods out there that can fly an airplane far better than I could ever hope to, but at the end of the day I just hope that I am able to use what skills that I do have to make someone else’ day a little better. And if I can share what I’ve learned in 44 plus years of flying airplanes to help someone develop better judgment then all the better!

    5. Agree with the replies to Mike S. The OP of this comment is a professional pilot and has a healthy respect for dark night takeoffs, particularly single pilot. I couldn't agree more. I also appreciate his comment about highways. Something I hadn't thought of.

      Absolutely heartbreaking to see Dr. Bruner and those two beautiful kids. Read an article hat stated the reason he did all the flying that day to get them all home is that he lost a brother to a nighttime car accident 19 years ago and didn't want the kids driving long distances late at night. Stories like these are just crushing.

    6. I can only hope that reason he picked up all his children is not true or he was irrational, as one can always pullover in a car and sleep or even find a hotel - cheaper than the fuel for the flights. A non-professional fatigued single pilot in a piston twin during dark night over mountainous terrain - what was he thinking?
      A physician, i.e. someone who should be able to do reality checks and calculate risk/benefits. Hope he didn't practice that way and medicine was his interest #10 to pay for #1-9, like flying, sports etc. I know it sound harsh, but I have seen this before in fellow MDs.

    7. Mike S.
      You of course are special. The military put you through the sorting hat. Most of us mere mortals will never be exposed to the training you endured.

    8. Mike S: no need to be a total jerk. The point is that a dark night takeoff is a trap for many amateur pilots who do not recognize the danger in advance, nor are proficient enough to safely perform it. The PC12 pilot’s comments are an ASSET to safety; yours are useless.

    9. Almost every time I take off even in perfect VFR weather day or night when on a IFR flight plan I fly the gauges to climb out. I don't look around for a visual reference to assist or guide me. This practice keeps me in shape for when I really need the gauges for IFR minimums. Anyone VFR or or IFR rated that takes off on a dark night especially with passengers should be proficient with not looking out for a visual reference to the ground or terrain! Way before my instrument rating I flew out of Key West at night many times over the black water on a VFR flight plan and fortunately I was well practiced using my instruments to climb out to altitude even when legally flying VFR. So I agree with Mike S. don't do or attempt it unless your able to. VFR or Instrument rated. Not a big deal if you practice it so when needed you have it. And I'm an hobbyist pilot not a pro.

    10. Commercial pilot since 1985, and when I read the OP's comments, I appreciated them but really appreciated Mike S.'s comment as well since I was thinking exactly the same thing. I don't think any differently on a night takeoff with few outside references, a crewmember in the other seat, two turbines, and heavy metal under me, than I do in GA aircraft. If you're just scared enough to be careful, great--but if you're scared enough to feel danger in what should be a routine, safe operation despite lots of experience with it--that might be a meaningful warning sign that you need more practical training or would be better off choosing a different line of work. Lack of confidence can be as dangerous as overconfidence.

    11. never saw a carrier with a pointy end

    12. Thanks Reluctant Poster, good comment. I don't see the OP as being scared, just with a healthy respect and understanding that it's a challenge for him as a professional, recurrent-trained pilot, much less the amateur who augered in.

    13. Thanks to the OP here! He has written a piece that will stay with me. I don't fly much at night, though I will fly in IMC without ice most anytime. This comment will help keep me a daytime pilot, even with the shorter days.

    14. I see pros above saying "this flight looks like business as usual" and everyone else saying "fools rush in where angels fear to tread". It is like some billionaires crashing a party of millionaires and saying to the group "I don't get why everyone doesn't fly a Gulfstream 5". Clearly professional pilots are capable of doing night etc flying with a margin of safety that private pilots will never achieve. The private pilot should really not even consider such flights, because they are unable to undertake those flights without a high level of risk. This difference is likely due to the amount of currency the pros maintain, the procedures they are required to follow, and the types of equipment they fly. It sort of boggles my mind that the pros seem completely oblivious to this difference in the comments above. They are basically saying "we would never tolerate a high level of risk, and we do these procedures all the time", as though the rest of the non-professional pilot world should be able to do the same thing. Guess what? No one who doesn't fly for a living is as good at flying as people who do. It might be the case that no GA pilot should consider single pilot IFR night departures. But if that is true, why don't we see regulators or pilot organizations saying it? Are we really going to leave this decision process up to a bunch of amateurs to figure out on their own? A more helpful comment would have been: "Guys, if you aren't doing X of these takeoffs per month, you shouldn't be doing them at all".

    15. PC12 Medevac pilot - I agree with you 100%
      I'm not a pro, and I didn't get the blessing of being paid to learn to fly from our tax dollars and develop a macho attitude.
      But there is no doubt that takeoffs without any visual reference are capable of putting any of us in a bad situation very quickly, especially in a single recip or light twin like I fly.
      Mr. Jet Pilot wants to brag, but I suspect his little jet climbing off the pointy end was MUCH easier to keep straight and level with no annoying turning tendencies or faults in those circumstances than what we have to contend with regularly.
      And I point out, I'm sure he whined louder than his turbine if something wasn't right on it. And no doubt would refuse to fly, while he still got paid.
      And BTW -- he didn't have to pay a dern dime to get it fixed either.

      Jackass comment he made. Absolute jackery.


    16. Re: Mike S. comment: Highly trained carrier pilot "Snort" Snodgrass recently had a general aviation accident. Boldness removes more than that which experience adds...

    17. Mike S, super pilot, never set a foot wrong, never an error in judgment. One of those guys with his own hero wall, full of accolades. You're just a human being Mike. Now that you're getting older watch out for that pillar in the garage...

  5. The biggest problem is we read VFR weather and it goes into our minds, but for a dark night, Black Hole takeoff it is really IFR minimums, hit the gauges on the takeoff roll at Vr, and be sharp to follow the gauges tight till you are well clear of terrain.

    1. Great comment, yes, that's IFR. The above mentioned listing shows a radar altimeter - could/would you use it during take off ans climb out or only during approach and landing?
      And how about the autopilot, engage it right away?
      Automation is to make our lives easier and safer, (non professional) single pilot IFR and fatigue are no time to fly (by hand) with passengers, as much fun as it may be.

    2. Most autopilots have a minimum AGL altitude for engagement for safety reasons (typically 800 AGL for most GA autopilots), so you could not engage it immediately and have to hand fly it for a minute or two until you reached that minimum altitude above ground/terrain.

      A radar altimeter is not much use on climb out since it only tells you about the terrain below you and not in front of you and doesn't indicate which way to turn to escape to lower terrain. Since you should already be climbing at Vy (best rate of climb) no matter what, the radar altimeter isn't giving you any actionable information over what you would get from your airspeed, VSI, and attitude indicator.

  6. Higher performance aircraft should be expected to create the illusion of being pitched up under forward acceleration lasting more than about two seconds in conditions lacking visual reference. Pitching down and not believing the attitude indicator is a common response.

    Surprising how many pilots lacked understanding when surveyed in 2015. Read the stories of pilots who recognized it and pulled up at pdf page 29, here:

    1. How about engine failure instead (or on top) of somatogravic illusion?

    2. Ground speed increase and vertical rates suggest SGI. Speed should have been falling off, not increasing if engine was out.

      Certainly could be a combination of distraction from something going on with performance and SGI just added to that. If the internals of the JPI 760 Engine Monitor or Shadin fuel computer survived the crash and fire, some insight will come from data recovery.

    3. Thanks, I didn't only mean engine failure with decreased climb performance but also loss of control, i.e. getting below Vmc, and crashing that way.
      Either way, fatigued single pilot dark night low level maneuvering over hilly/mountainous terrain
      in a piston (non-turbine = less reliable) is crazy.
      Hopefully some data from on board electronics will be read out.

      Condolences and tailwinds

    4. Fire decreases the likelihood, but NTSB has recovered data from a heavily damaged JPI 760 engine monitor, as seen in this photo from an Aerostar crash in Maine:

      Specialist's Report of data recovered in the Aerostar crash:

      Aerostar's KR posting:

  7. We wont forget you brother, you were one of the best!

  8. Acc. to Airmen Database:

    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 7/2/2020


    1. Looking back earlier, Citydata's snapshot of pilots and aircraft taken in March 2016 showed the pilot certified ASEL, Instrument Airplane and having a Cessna T210L at that time.

  9. Flew two CE-340s for a group of grain traders, into KCGX, Meigs for 4 years. Lots of night departures, both VFR and IFR. Current APT/CFII, with about 500 hrs in the type. The departure always involved a turn over the lake, and it was always some work not to get disoriented. You always got a 060 or 090 heading for a few minutes, and I started using the autopilot after takeoff. Our KFC200 was a little sloppy at times, but would keep the airplane and myself from going into the lake, as some had.
    I also agree that being rested is a big factor


  10. Overview
    Listing Status: Inactive
    N310JA is an exceptionally equipped! RAM 300HP! Known Ice certified T310R – The Owner files for 205 kts @ 16,000ft. It checks all the boxes, ADS-B, Long range fuel, Known Ice and Air Conditioned! Fresh Annual inspection and TOP overhaul on high time engine!


  11. Those twins are Part 135 workhorses... to be professionally flown sometimes with 2 pilots for good measure under strict air taxi regs. A Cirrus would have been more than adequate for a Pvt pilot who's job flying for a living it ain't. Or any single engine for that matter like the reliable and docile 182 or even a 172 well equiped or a PA-28.
    Sometimes the most critical decisions of our lives are when we set our eyes on a specific plane that is way too demanding if things go wrong.

  12. Where the upgrade from single engine to twin becomes necessary (relatively speaking, none of it is "necessary") is if you fly to travel in winter weather. Whether it's FIKI or boots and hot props for those "oh shit, this wasn't supposed to be at this altitude" moments, deice/anti-ice for single engine airplanes are unobtainium. We know they can be done, it just can't be done affordably. That probably drives some folks into a twin who really just want to have a real option when it comes to getting through some occasional ice. Really wish FAA didn't make the certification process so outrageously cumbersome. I'm sure there is a an affordable and utilitarian design for anti-ice for Cessnas and Pipers sitting on someone's shelf.

    1. FIKI-certified Centurions, Malibus, Mooneys, and probably one or two others have been flying for a long time (decades). Companies I have worked for have depended on them. They aren't especially cheap, but certainly cheaper than a twin. In both twins and singles, those systems need to be counted on for momentary / transitioning use only. Sitting in the ice in anything is asking for trouble. Even the air carriers can routinely be heard requesting altitude or course changes to get out of it. I was enroute at altitude one night and heard a Southwest 737 pilot give an icing PIREP to a controller while climbing out of Sacramento that would make any experienced pilot's hair stand at attention. There was a powerful, wet cold front moving over the area at the time and there was no doubt that crew was downright scared by the time the accumulation stopped. The odds of the best system on a small GA aircraft getting through that same area at the same time that day were probably not good at all.

  13. Moonrise was 17:58, illumination 93%. Moon would have been high overhead in a clear sky. Disorientation not likely.

    1. Moon was 12° above the horizon on a 67° ENE heading from Chadron at the 19:20 MST departure time recorded in the Adsbexchange track. Helpful, just not high overhead.

  14. You have to learn from other's mistakes because no one has enough time or luck to make them all themselves.

  15. Nearly 2 months later and still no NTSB preliminary, wonder what is going on with the IIC...

    1. Just came out today, was also watching since it took a while, but they did report on some engine findings and fuel checks, instead of just "it happened".

      Sad to realize that simple loss of orientation out over dark terrain seems likely from what is in the report.