Thursday, November 25, 2021

Cessna T210R Turbo Centurion, N6209U: Fatal accident occurred November 24, 2021 near Grove City Airport (29D), Mercer County, Pennsylvania

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; Allegheny, Pennsylvania 
Textron - Cessna; Wichita, Kansas 

Centurion 85 LLC

Location: Grove City, Pennsylvania 
Accident Number: ERA22FA076
Date and Time: November 24, 2021, 17:46 Local
Registration: N6209U
Aircraft: Cessna T210R Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 24, 2021, at 1746 eastern standard time, a Cessna T210R, N6209U, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Grove City, Pennsylvania. The private pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight originated from the Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York and was enroute to the Akron Fulton Airport (AKR), Akron, Ohio. About 2 hours into the flight, the pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane, diverted to the Clarion County Airport (AXQ), Clarion, Pennsylvania for a reported oil pressure issue.

Witnesses at AXQ stated that after landing, the pilot requested 6 quarts of oil; he also stated that he thought the oil pressure issue was due to the oil dipstick not being properly secured which resulted in a loss of oil through the dipstick tube. A witness further stated that the airplane was “covered in oil,” with oil present on the empennage, lower fuselage, and engine cowl. The pilot and passenger cleaned the airplane with rags, serviced the engine with new oil, and elected to resume their flight. During the subsequent engine start up, one of the witnesses, who was also a helicopter mechanic, heard the airplane engine making “abnormal cracking and popping” noises. Furthermore, the pilot taxied to the end of the runway and promptly departed without performing an engine run-up.

After departure, the pilot contacted Youngstown air traffic control, climbed to 4,500 ft mean sea level (msl) and requested flight following to AKR, which was about 95 nautical miles west. About 15 minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported that the airplane was experiencing a loss of engine power and requested assistance. The controller provided instructions to land at Grove City Airport (29D), Grove City, Pennsylvania, which was at the airplane’s 12 o’clock position and 8 miles away. Shortly after the pilot reported the airport in sight, and that he did not think the airplane would be able to reach the airport, all communication and radar contact was lost.

The airplane impacted trees and steep terrain at an elevation of about 1,200 ft, about 1.5 miles from the approach end of runway 28 at 29D. The initial tree impact was about 250 ft and on a heading of about 230° to the main wreckage which came to rest on a 35° incline against several trees. A 24-inch section of the left wingtip was located near the initial tree impact and several broken branches were observed on top of a 100-ft-tall pine tree. A post-impact fire consumed the fuselage and cockpit area. The instrument panel and all associated instrumentation, gauges and electronic devices were destroyed by fire.

The empennage separated during impact; the vertical and horizonal stabilizers, and their respective rudder and elevators, remained attached to their respective attachment points. There was oil residue observed on the underside of the empennage, left stabilizer and elevator. The flight control cables exhibited breaks consistent with overload. Several portions of the left wing were located along the wreckage path and near the main wreckage. The right wing was damaged by impact forces and fire. The aileron control cables were traced to the cockpit through breaks in the cables that were consistent with overload.

The engine separated from the main wreckage. The three-bladed propeller and spinner remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Two of the three propeller blades were bent aft in a relatively uniform manor. The third blade was bent aft and exhibited severe gouges and scrapes on the upper surface and leading edge of the blade tip, but little chordwise scraping was observed on all three blades. The propeller spinner was crushed uniformly from the front to aft and exhibited no evidence of rotational damage.

The engine showed evidence of heat and impact damage but was relatively intact. The turbocharger was examined and static impact impressions consistent with contact from the compressor wheel were observed. There was no rotational damage to the blades or housing.

The top spark plugs were removed and revealed that the No. 5 sparkplug had damage to the electrode and was covered with oil. The No. 3 and No. 2 sparkplugs were covered with oil. The remaining sparkplugs remained intact, and they had minimal wear when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug chart.

Two holes were observed in the top of the engine crankcase. One hole was located forward of the No. 5 cylinder and was about 2 inches in diameter. The second hole was located adjacent to the No. 4 cylinder and was about 3 inches in diameter. The No. 4 cylinder connecting rod was separated from the crankshaft. The No. 5 cylinder piston was fragmented. The engine could not be rotated.

The two through-bolts that connected cylinders No. 4 and No. 5 were missing nuts on the right side of the engine. The two through-bolts that connected cylinders No. 2 and No. 3 were missing nuts on the left side of the engine. In addition, a 1/16-inch gap was observed between the two through-bolt nuts on the aft side of the No.1 cylinder. All through-bolt threads appeared undamaged and intact.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N6209U
Model/Series: T210R
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: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: UCP,1073 ft msl 
Observation Time: 21:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C /-6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 11000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Clarion County, PA (AXQ)
Destination: Akron, OH (AKR)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.148808,-80.131026 

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.

A 65-year-old Ohio man made a turnaround and a stop at the Clarion County Airport shortly before his plane crashed a few miles outside Grove City last week, according to flight records.

Richard Briggs, 65, of Cuyahoga Falls died as a result of blunt force trauma as a result of the crash, which happened around 5:40 p.m. on Nov. 24., according to Mercer County Coroner John Libonati.

Briggs’s passenger, 55-year-old Keith Vanover of Parma, Ohio, was transported from the scene but died Saturday at a Pittsburgh hospital of thermal burns and inhalation suffered in the crash, according to the Allegheny County Office of the Medical Examiner.

“Preliminary information suggests that the plane being flown by Mr. Briggs was experiencing significant mechanical problems prior to the crash and that efforts were being made to land safely prior to the accident,” Libonati said in a release.

According to preliminary information released by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Cessna T210R lost oil pressure and engine function prior to crashing in a wooded area near the TCI landfill in Pine Township, a few miles outside Grove City.

According to flight records, Briggs was scheduled for a non-stop return trip from Westchester County, N.Y., north of New York City, to Akron, Ohio. Briggs had flown the same trip Wednesday in the opposite direction.

On the return trip, Briggs left New York just before 2:15 p.m. Shortly after 5 p.m., flight records indicate he passed the Clarion County Airport before turning around, backtracking roughly 10 miles and landing.

About 15 minutes later, Briggs took off headed for Akron. Nineteen minutes later, the plane crashed.

Libonati said the FAA will make a definitive ruling on the cause of the crash following its investigation.

Rick Briggs

PINE TOWNSHIP – The passenger from Wednesday’s Pine Township plane crash that killed the pilot has died from his injuries.

Keith Vanover, 55, of Parma, Ohio, was pronounced dead at 9:17 a.m. Saturday at a Pittsburgh hospital, according to information released Monday by the Allegheny County Coroner’s Office.

Vanover died from thermal burns and inhalation injuries.

The pilot, Richard Briggs, 65, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, died in the crash that happened at 5:42 p.m. in a wooded area adjacent to Tri-County Industries, 159 TCI Park Drive, Mercer County Coroner John A. Libonati reported Friday.

He was operating a Cessna 210 and had planned on flying nonstop from upstate New York to Akron, but diverted to stop at Clarion County Airport, according to flight records. It crashed 19 minutes after resuming flight from Clarion to Akron.

Those records indicate that Briggs had flown from Akron Fulton Airport to Westchester Airport just north of New York City that morning.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s preliminary findings show that the plane was reportedly experiencing significant mechanical problems, with a loss of oil pressure and engine function before the crash.

The staff from the control tower at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna, Ohio, reported to Mercer County 911 that the plane had radioed indicating it lost engine function, said Frank Jannetti, Mercer County’s public safety director.

Briggs was trying to make a safe landing, Libonati said.


    Medical Class: First Medical Date: 4/2021

    Certificate: COMMERCIAL PILOT
    Date of Issue: 10/29/2019
    Type Ratings:

    Certificate: FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    Date of Issue: 1/14/2020
    EXPIRES: 31 JAN 2022.

    Certificate: MECHANIC
    Date of Issue: 8/14/2009
    DISTRICT OFFICE: GL25 03/2021

    1. Looks like he was trying to stretch the glide to Grove City Airport. Golf course and fields nearby - although looks like end of twilight was 5:30, 15 min before crash.


    Flightaware's Clarion arrival and flatline plot continuation:

    Flightaware's accident leg:

  3. 1 hour @ KAXQ. FBO offers fuel, no maintenance. Closest advertised powerplant maintenance was Ravotti Air LLC. @
    Franklin-Venango Regional Airport (KFKL), 21 nm NW of AXQ.

    1. He was an A&P, so he could have done some work himself.

  4. He had a discrete transponder code, so he was likely on with flight following. Unfortunately the LiveATC feed for Youngstown approach has been down for over a year or otherwise we might be able to hear what he reported to ATC.

  5. Preliminary report is a real eye opener. Of the six case thru bolts, two were not doing anything because a nut spun off on one end and two more had nuts backing off. Suggests incorrect torque during cylinder work.

    1. And the A&P IA passenger decided to throw more oil at it and call it good?

      What should have happened is pulling the cowl with whatever tool, rock, piece a scrap metal they could find to turn the fasteners.

      They then would have seen the cylinders about ready to fall off and said "We almost died". Well, died they did. RIP.

  6. This may qualify for a Darwin award?

    Add 6 quarts, wipe the oil off the plane, and GO!

    Un. Believable.

    1. This is not Carrol Shelby at Sebring Gas oil and Go tis is an aircraft and this gentlemen is A an P ceritfied. why why why how did six quarts of oil get out of the engine?? Sorry for the loss to both Families

  7. So did poorly fastened bolts lead to major oil leakage with the eventual cessation of engine activity ?

    1. I believe so. Sadly if they had pulled the cowl or realized that a dipstick loose would not pump out that much oil they would be here today.

    2. That clearly wasn't the dipstick they needed to worry about!

  8. and the complicit pax willingly helped, then climbed back in!

  9. It is upsetting to me because Keith was a good friend. He made a mistake and paid for it with his life. RIP Keith.

  10. Madness. Losing six quarts of oil and having it blow all over the airplane and not engaging in even the most pedestrian level of investigation as to how this happened? And one of the decedents was an A&P????

    Flying airplanes and living to tell about it requires some judgement, decision making, and risk mitigating skills. When the engine pukes six quarts of oil onto itself, it is trying to tell you something and that "something" isn't "dump six more quarts of oil in and go"....

  11. Wasn’t this aircraft designed back in the 1950s? Just wondering seems it lacked any kind of modern warning/diagnostic system. Ironic how today you can drive to hangar in Audi A8 w/state-of-the-art safety sensors/technology, then climb into a curmudgeon aircraft designed 75 years ago and can add oil but can’t actually view the engine…scary.


  12. God bless Rick's and Keith's souls on the first anniversary of this accident. RIP. They will both be remembered fondly by their friends, colleagues, and families. One minor correction to the comment above that two (2) of the six (6) through bolts were doing nothing. The report appears to indicate that four (4) of the six (6) through bolts were doing nothing.

  13. For all of you brilliant folks criticizing the deceased: he purchased 6 quarts - that doesn’t mean he added all 6 quarts. 1 quart of hot oil sprayed all over the bottom of the fuselage can look like a lot more. How would he know how many quarts leaked out and therefore exactly how many to buy? These engines regularly need oil added, so it probably made sense to just buy 6 at the time (some to add and some for later). Maybe he added 2, or maybe 5, but we won’t ever know. Obviously 2 qualified and experienced guys thought they had the issue identified and the engine was running well enough to get there from NY, then take off and climb out again. Plenty of pilots do a run-up while riding brakes during taxi when they are trying to save time. If it had been daylight then they might still be here. RIP.