Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Cessna 182L Skylane, N182NS: Fatal accident occurred December 03, 2021 Bonnerdale, Hot Spring County, Arkansas

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; Little Rock, Arkansas

Jefferson Aircraft LLC

Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Location: Bonnerdale, Arkansas
Accident Number: CEN22FA058
Date and Time: December 3, 2021, 18:23 Local
Registration: N182NS
Aircraft: Cessna 182L
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 3, 2021, about 1823 central standard time, a Cessna 182L, N182NS, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Bonnerdale, Arkansas. The non-instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The accident airplane was the lead airplane in a flight of two that departed Mendin, Louisiana (MNE), about 1738, destined for Clarksville, Arkansas (H35).

The non-instrument rated pilot of the second airplane stated that before departure from MNE, they both reviewed the enroute weather and he recalled the cloud layers were reported scattered at 1,500 ft with an overcast ceiling at 2,000 ft. Together, they decided to climb to 1,500 ft mean sea level (MSL) for the flight and agreed that the Ralph C Weiser Field Airport (AGO) in Magnolia, Arkansas, would be their alternate airport if the clouds were too low. AGO was located about 35 nm northwest of MNE.

The pilot stated that he took off behind the accident pilot and described the weather as “already sketchy.” He was able to see the ground, but there was no forward visibility. About 20 minutes into the flight and before reaching AGO, they were in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Both pilots were communicating via radio transmissions while in flight and they decided not to divert to AGO because the accident pilot stated that he thought the clouds would clear up and they should continue to the destination airport. 

According to the pilot, as the two airplanes neared Hot Springs, Arkansas, they “were in full IMC” and both were flying at 1,600 ft MSL, 140 kts, and on a 351° heading. He stated that he glanced down at his phone to check his flight path and saw that the flight track from the accident airplane turned and was on a southeast heading. Unable to reach the accident pilot on the radio, he continued ahead. About 30 seconds later, he received a 500 ft altitude warning from ForeFlight and initiated an immediate climb with full power. He continued the flight at 3,500 ft MSL and did not exit IMC until the Danville, Arkansas, area. 

A review of Federal Aviation Administration Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) data showed that after the accident airplane departed MNE, it climbed to about 1,600 ft GPS altitude and flew a relatively straight flight path north. About 1.5 nm south of Trap Mountain, the airplane began a gradual descent. About ½ nm south of Trap Mountain, the airplane began a shallow right turn. ADS-B data ceased over Trap Mountain at an altitude of 1,175 ft. Although not labeled as Trap Mountain on the sectional chart, the mountain is denoted with an altitude of 1,095ft MSL.

The accident airplane impacted the north side of Trap Mountain and came to rest at an elevation of 1,071ft MSL. The point of initial impact was the top of an estimated 30 ft tree and a portion of the right lower wing skin remained in the tree. The main wreckage traveled about 100 ft and the left wing was located about 144 ft from the initial impact point. The airplane came to rest inverted and highly fragmented.

A post-accident examination revealed that all flight control cables, with the exception of one elevator cable, were connected at the flight control surface and the cockpit control. The disconnected elevator cable was located within the debris field and exhibited signatures consistent with overload. Flight control continuity could not be established due to the fragmented nature of the accident airplane. The engine was examined with no preimpact damage noted. The propeller separated from the engine at the propeller hub and exhibited chordwise striations and leading and trailing edge damage consistent with rotation at the time of impact.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N182NS
Model/Series: 182L
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: IMC
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMWT,702 ft msl 
Observation Time: 16:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C /16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Wind
Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1200 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Minden, LA (MNE)
Destination: Clarksville, AR (H35)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.344821,-93.359793 

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.

Vernon Lane Hampton
March 6, 1966 - December 3, 2021

Vernon Lane Hampton, age 55, of Clarksville, Arkansas died Friday, December 3, 2021. He was born on Sunday, March 6, 1966 to Fredrick and Patti Hampton in Mena, Arkansas.

Vernon was a good Christian man with a generous spirit. He was an incredibly hard worker, and had a passion for flying and fixing just about anything. Vernon was very intelligent and had a knack for finding solutions to any problem. He was dedicated to his work, and he loved every minute of it. Vernon took great pride in the aviation business he had built and truly loved what he did. He was a jack of all trades and always had multiple projects he was working on at any given time. Vernon was filled with compassion and could always be found helping others in need. He liked cars, planes, boats, motorcycles and could fix any of them. Vernon loved his children, family, and friends and showed that love through endless jokes and laughter. Vernon was a loving son, father, grandfather, uncle and friend and will be missed by all who knew him.

Vernon is survived by his father, Fred Hampton of Mena, mother, Patti Hampton of Smithville, Oklahoma, and step-mother Cynde Hampton; one son and daughter in law, Aaron and Katherine Hampton of Virginia; two daughters and son in law, Angela and Jordan Reece Jones of Fort Smith, and Katlyn Bryant of Nashville, Tennessee; one brother, Mark Hampton of Longview, Texas; three sisters and brothers in law, Vickie and Larry Smith of Oklahoma, Leslie and Matt Dodd of Oklahoma, Melissa and Brett Ham of Mena; two grandchildren, Kensley Jones and one granddaughter on the way; several nephews and nieces and a host of other family and friends.

A funeral service will be held Friday, December 10, 2021 at 10:30 AM at The Crossing Church in Mena with Brother Victor Rowell officiating. Interment will follow at the Pinecrest Memorial Gardens in Mena under the direction of Bowser Family Funeral Home. A visitation will be held on Thursday, December 9, 2021 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at the Bowser Family Funeral Home Chapel in Mena.

Pallbearers will be Brad Chandler, Weldon Garrison, Brett Ham, Tray Hargraves, Frank Moore, and Robert Watkins.

Honorary Pallbearers are Danny Brickey and Eric Goss.

Online Guestbook:

GLENWOOD, Arkansas — A pilot was found dead when searchers in Arkansas discovered the wreckage of a single-engine plane that had gone missing, officials said Sunday.

Arkansas State Police said pilot Vernon Hampton of Clarksville was the lone occupant of the plane.

State police said they were notified at about 10 p.m. Friday that an aircraft that had been expected to land at Clarksville Municipal Airport was overdue. The plane’s last known location was in the area near Trap Mountain west of Hot Springs.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said the plane took off from an airport in Minden, Louisiana.

Search crews located the crash site Saturday morning. The National Transportation Safety Board said the wreckage of the Cessna 182L Skylane was found near the unincorporated community of Bonnerdale in Hot Spring County.

The crash site between Glenwood and Hot Springs is on the southeastern edge of the Ouachita National Forest, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southwest of Little Rock.


  1. Given the increase in airplane prices due to lack of supply I suspect a lot of subpar aircrafts are now also on the market and rushed to be sold after maintenance. Not suspecting anything bad here but one avenue that the NTSB will consider most likely. Ferry means also under a ferry permit so out of annual etc...

    1. He was not necessarily on a ferry permit, which would indicate maintenance issues. He may have been ferrying the aircraft to a new owner. Many sales transactions involve a ferry pilot moving the aircraft from one location to a new home base. It could be that the new owner doesn't have the time or possibly would like for someone who is instrument rated to make the move.

  2. He had picked up the airplane in Louisiana to repair some storm damage for the owner due to Hurricane IDA. He and another pilot flew down to pick up the plane and was returning to Arkansas as a flight of two. After a refueling stop they were heading back to Clarksville under a dark moonless conditions. Neither one was instrument rated. According to the other pilot who was able to land ahead, said Vernon was talking him through because they had no outside reference, you have to read the account of the other pilot to understand. This is typical of pilots flying VFR into IFR conditions and not being aware of terrain.

    1. Correct! I read the account you are referring to - the guy in the Bonanza who was part of the flight of two. Neither of them had an instrument ticket and they were over rough terrain at night in marginal conditions. Absolute madness!

      For those of you without instrument ratings - just DON'T DO STUFF LIKE THIS! Night / single engine / rugged terrain - maybe a marginal airplane to boot. Stay on the ground. Yes, you might have to get a hotel room. Yes, your spouse / the owner of the airplane / the dog might be upset because you were gone an additional day (or two). But you'll come home alive and they'll get over it. VFR pilot into IFR conditions and CFIT are the top two causes of GA fatalities and they are completely unnecessary because, unlike a sudden catastrophic equipment failure, you absolutely have the ability to say "no thank you" until it's too late.

      Vernon's buddy in the Bonanza is apparently one of my FB friends due to a large number of mutual friends. Reading is posts about the loss of his buddy is heart rending - I'll bet Vernon was a great friend and pal. But both of them made a series of bad decisions that manifested in a fatality. Such a shame.

    2. Why does the idea of flying VFR at night, S/E, over heavily forested hills not cause so many to rethink about taking off???? It should only be done by experienced pilots who practice under the hood flying in well maintained aircraft, mostly clear skies and 20+ mile vis.

    3. To TexasAviator's comment, I would also add "Even if you DO have an instrument rating - just DON'T DO STUFF LIKE THIS!" About a third of VFR into IMC accidents happen to IFR rated pilots. Those pilots were either not prepared or not proficient or both. If you are instrument rated and current, then use that rating and file that flight plan even if it's slightly marginal conditions.

  3. If anyone has flown into IMC (prepared or not) alone, can tell you that your mind CAN NOT and Should not dictate your actions, unless backed up by training/instruments. Hearing the words from your teaching IFR instructor saying "if you keep that up, your going to kill us both" Should never be forgotten. VFR pilots seldom encounter those words. I can not describe the feeling of watching someone turn right, when they are being told to turn left or get back to level. it happens and can to the best of them.