The pilot of the Cessna 182, accompanied by two passengers, was on a scenic flight near Carson City, Nevada. The airplane was climbing southwest, and approaching 9,000 feet MSL.
The pilot planned to cross a mountain saddle between 400 and 500 feet AGL. The airplane encountered a strong downdraft and the airspeed dropped to about 80 mph. The airplane stopped climbing.
It then encountered another downdraft, which resulted in an uncommanded descent. The pilot applied full power in an attempt to stop the descent, but was unsuccessful.
He maneuvered the airplane to avoid some trees before hitting the rising terrain. The airplane hit in a flat attitude, and sustained substantial damage to both wings and the tail section. There were no injuries.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control after an encounter with downdrafts while flying over mountainous terrain.
NTSB Identification: WPR13CA231
This May 2013 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.