This June 2009 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna 182. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Dougherty, Texas. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: There was no record of the pilot obtaining a formal weather briefing before the flight. Weather information for the time of the accident depicted an area of light precipitation, consistent with a thunderstorm in the immediate vicinity of the accident. Convective SIGMETS, METAR observations, and witness reports noted thunderstorm activity, brownout conditions, dust storms, and the possibility of severe to extreme turbulence at the time of the accident.
The pilot had logged 412 hours, including 45.5 hours in a Cessna 182. Of his total time, 17.7 hours were at night, and 4.6 hours in simulated instrument meteorological conditions.
Radar data provided for the last portion of the accident flight depicted the airplane changing heading and altitude on several occasions. The airplane impacted an open field in a nose low attitude and was fragmented on impact. An examination of the airframe, engine, and airplane systems revealed no pre-impact anomalies.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper decision to continue flight into known adverse weather conditions resulting in his inability to maintain aircraft control after penetrating the thunderstorm gust front. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of preflight planning, failure to obtain a weather briefing, and the severe to extreme turbulence, blowing dust which produced brownout conditions associated with thunderstorm activity.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB identification: CEN09FA369.