‘Airplane Was At The Same Altitude As The Top Of A Flagpole Before It Collided With Trees’

Location: Heath, OH Accident Number: CEN22FA113
Date & Time: February 1, 2022, 13:40 Local Registration: N716MC
Aircraft: Cessna 182T Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On February 1, 2022, about 1340 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182T airplane, N716MC, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Heath, Ohio. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal crosscountry flight. At 1338, the pilot completed a touch-and-go landing at Newark-Heath Airport (VTA), Newark, Ohio, then departed to the east. The airplane climbed to about 500 ft above ground level (agl), then descended to 85 ft agl over a residential area. During the last 30 seconds of the flight, the airplane flew about 100 ft agl and about 145 kts groundspeed before it descended into trees.

Witnesses at VTA stated that the airplane landed hard on runway 9, which was the opposite direction of the current airport traffic, then departed to the east. As the airplane departed, the flaps remained extended longer than the witnesses expected, and the airplane’s altitude was lower than they expected.

Other witnesses located northeast of VTA reported that they observed the airplane eastbound at a low altitude until their view of the airplane was blocked by trees and buildings. They did not report anything anomalous with the airplane.

A witness near the accident site reported that the airplane was at the same altitude as the top of a flagpole before it collided with trees. He did not see the airplane make any erratic maneuvers. A doorbell camera located near the accident site recorded the airplane flying at a low altitude, about 40 to 50 ft above ground level (agl), and a high airspeed.

The airplane collided with trees in a heavily wooded area about 2.5 miles east of VTA. The airplane continued through the trees for about 500 ft then impacted a road and metal guardrail. It continued east beyond the guardrail and down an embankment where it came to rest in multiple pieces.

The debris path in the woods included the entire right wing, potions of the left wing, portions of the elevator, and many other airplane pieces. There were numerous freshly cut tree branches intermingled with the airplane debris. The empennage was found partially wrapped around the  guardrail and the remainder of the left wing was found to the right of the ground impact area. The fuselage sustained impact damage, scrape marks, tree transfer marks, and the top of the cabin area was crushed aft with significant scrape marks. The engine separated from the firewall and was found about 30 feet beyond the fuselage.

Preliminary examination of the engine and airframe did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov