…Began A Gradual Descent Until The Data Ended At 1,200 ft MSL

Location: Galt, MO Accident Number: CEN21FA125
Date & Time: February 8, 2021, 14:42 Local Registration: N8080G
Aircraft: Cessna 177RG Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On February 8, 2021, about 1442 central standard time, a Cessna 177RG airplane, N8080G, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Galt, Missouri. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Based on preliminary radar information, the flight departed Saint Louis Downtown Airport (CPS), Saint Louis, Missouri, at 1051 and arrived at Omar N. Bradley Airport (MBY), Moberly, Missouri, at 1157. Witnesses at MBY observed the airplane after landing and said the airplane windscreen was completely obscured by ice and there was significant ice accumulated on the rest of the airplane that was about ¼ inch thick. The pilot requested assistance deicing the airplane and the witnesses helped put the airplane in a heated hangar to melt the ice. They also added 16.88 gallons of fuel to the airplane. The pilot told one of the witnesses he would depart as soon as the airplane was deiced and that he dismissed recommendations to stay the night at MBY and depart after the weather improved. The pilot said he would fly north before turning west and that the weather was better to the north. Neither witness knew the pilot’s exact destination, just that he planned to spend the night in Nebraska before he continued to Colorado.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data showed the cross-country flight originated from MBY about 1410 and traveled north about 30 miles, turned northwest for about 40 miles, and then flew west-southwest for about 6 miles until the data ended at 1440 (see figure 1). The ADS-B recorded altitudes began at 1,100 ft mean sea level (MSL) and attained a maximum altitude of 1,900 ft before it began a gradual descent until the data ended at 1,200 ft MSL. Terrain along the route of flight varied between about 750 ft and 950 ft MSL. The elevation at the accident site was about 785 ft MSL.

The wreckage was located the following day in a wooded area about 1.5 miles southeast of Galt and about 7 miles west of the last recorded ADS-B point. The initial impact occurred with trees about 30 ft above the ground. The airplane was accounted for in its entirety at the accident site. Both wings and  portions of the horizontal stabilizer were separated at impact and located near the initial impact point.

The engine, fuselage, and vertical stabilizer were collocated about 200 ft south of the initial impact point. Damage and dispersion of the wreckage prevented determination of the airplanes attitude at the time of impact.

Flight control continuity to the ailerons could not be verified due to impact damage. Multiple separations were noted in the aileron control cables consistent with overload. Flight control continuity was verified to the rudder and to the elevator attach points.

An unquantified amount of fuel was present in the left-wing fuel tank at the site. The right-wing fuel tank was impact damaged and compromised. Fuel drained from a broken fuel line near the engine firewall when the engine was lifted for recovery. The engine was examined at a secure facility following recovery, and about 1/3 cup of liquid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel was drained from the engine fuel sump during examination. The fuel was clear of contaminants and tested negative for water using water detecting paste.

Engine continuity was verified by manually rotating the propeller and observing inlet and exhaust valve movement on each cylinder. The top spark plugs were removed from each cylinder and compression of each cylinder was verified by placing a thumb over each open spark plug hole and verifying suction and outflow during rotation of the propeller. The four spark plugs demonstrated normal wear patterns when compared to the Champion Aviation Spark Plug chart. Each cylinder was checked visually with a borescope and no anomalies were observed. The left and right magnetos both produced spark at each associated spark plug lead when tested.

Both propeller blades were bent aft and twisting of the blades was evident. Leading edge polishing and chordwise scratches were visible on both blades. No anomalies were noted with the engine that would have prevented the normal production of power. A Garmin GDU-470 and a JPI engine data module (EDM) 700/800 were recovered from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board recorders laboratory to recover any stored data from the flight.

The routine weather observation for MBY at 1355 CST (1955Z) was wind from 030° at 9 knots, visibility 1 3/4 statute miles (weather conditions missing), scattered clouds at 600 ft agl, ceiling broken at 1,500 ft, overcast at 2,700 ft, temperature -12° C, dew point -16° C, altimeter 30.20 inches of mercury (Hg).

The flight passed about 10 miles south and west of Kirksville Municipal Airport (IRK), Missouri, about 1425. A special weather observation for IRK at 1446 was wind from 030° at 8 knots, visibility 3/4 statute mile in haze, vertical visibility 1,800 ft agl, temperature -14° C, dew point -17° C, altimeter 30.21”Hg. Remarks: automated station with a precipitation discriminator, 6-hour maximum temperature -0.1° C, temperature -13.9° C, dew point temperature -16.7° C.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov