Search For The Late Airplane Was Commenced The Following Day When The Pilot Did Not Report For Work

Location: Midway, GA Accident Number: ERA21LA085
Date & Time: December 20, 2020, 20:11 Local Registration: N2246S
Aircraft: Cessna 210L Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On December 20, 2020, about 2011 eastern standard time, a Cessna 210L, N2246S, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Midway, Georgia. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Earlier during the day of the accident, the pilot flew his airplane from Eagle Neck Airport (1GA0), Shellman Bluff, Georgia to the East Georgia Regional Airport (SBO), Swainsboro, Georgia, then used an airport crew car to drive to the Emanuel Medical Center. He worked a 12-hour shift before leaving the medical center around 1915 with the intent of returning home to 1GA0. The pilot exchanged text messages with his son before and during the accident flight. In an exchange of messages sent around 1900, the pilot and his son discussed the instrument meteorological conditions at 1GA0, including 400-foot ceilings and rain, that the pilot would depart soon, and that he might stop in Claxton, Georgia for fuel.

A review of preliminary radar track data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the flight departed runway 14 at SBO around 1940. After departure, the airplane’s track initially turned to the east, overflying the town of Swainsboro, before turning back to the right and tracking southeast for the remainder of the flight. The airplane climbed to and maintained between 2,000 to 2,500 ft mean sea level (msl) during cruise. At 1955, the pilot sent a text message to his son and stated that he was over Claxton, that he would not be stopping, and that he would continue to 1GA0. The airplane began descending at 2003, continuing southeast until just north of Seabrook, Georgia. The airplane then turned right and continued to descend to about 100 ft msl before turning southwest, briefly climbing back up to 300 ft msl, then descending to the ground. The track data ended at 2011. No flight plan was filed for the flight and no air traffic control services were provided. There were no published instrument approach procedures for 1GA0.

The search for the late airplane was commenced the following day when the pilot did not report for work. The airplane was located midday, upright in a marshy area about 5 miles north of 1GA0. The wreckage debris path was about 400 ft-long and oriented on a southeast heading. The initial point of impact was a tree, and the right wing was located at the base of a tree. The left wing remained lodged near the top of the tree about 120 ft farther along the debris path, followed by the propeller 50 ft farther, and the initial ground impact scar about 70 ft beyond the propeller. The main wreckage with the tail and engine attached came to rest near the elevator about 75 ft beyond the impact ground scar. There was no fire.

The fuselage skin was torn, exposing the cabin and cockpit. The instrument panel was mostly intact. The throttle control was selected full out, the propeller control was full in, and the mixture was pulled out about 1.25 inches. The pilot side door was connected by the bottom hinge, and the right side passenger door was detached. The propeller blades were bent aft, with one blade fractured near the blade tip. According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane.

The reported weather conditions at SBO at 1931 included overcast clouds at 300 ft, and 4 miles visibility in rain. The 1956 reported weather conditions at Wright Army Airfield/Midcoast Regional Airport, Fort Stewart (Hinesville), Georgia, located about 16 nm north of accident site included overcast clouds at 600 ft, and 7 miles visibility in light rain.

The wreckage was retained for further investigation.