The Accident Airplane Began A Left Ascending Turn To The Northwest

Location: Preston, ID Accident Number: WPR22FA347
Date & Time: September 14, 2022, 10:54 Local Registration: N992KS
Aircraft: Skiles Kenneth C RV-6A Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On September 14, 2022, about 1054 mountain daylight time, a Vans RV-6A, N992KS, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Preston, Idaho. The pilot and the passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The accident airplane was the lead in a flight of two that departure from Ontario Municipal Airport (ONO), in Ontario, Oregon, about 0911. After departure, Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center provided flight following services to the flight of two airplanes. The accident airplane was equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcasting (ADS-B). ADS-B track data from the accident airplane indicated that after departure they flew generally southeast bound climbing to a cruise altitude of about 9,500 ft for most of the flight. Eventually both airplanes climbed to almost 12,000 ft briefly until their courses began to diverge slightly. The accident airplane briefly descended to about 10,500 ft, then continued descending to 9,000 ft. Subsequently, the accident airplane began a left ascending turn to the northwest. Track data ended shortly after about 1055.

According to the pilot in the second airplane, cloud tops prompted the climb from 9,500 ft to 12,000 ft. Shortly after reaching 12,000 ft, the pilot in the accident airplane communicated that he was going to descend and make a 180° turn. The pilot in the second airplane climbed above the clouds to 14,400 ft and continued to the east-northeast around the north side of Bear Lake, and then continued east bound. Cellphone video recorded by the pilot in the second airplane captured the accident airplane’s descent into an area surrounded by clouds.

Weather observations from Bear Lake County Airport (1U7), Paris, Idaho, located 14 miles northeast of the accident location, reported the following conditions surrounding the timeframe of the accident. At 1055, wind was 5 kts out of the north, visibility unlimited, overcast clouds at 4,700 ft above the ground level (agl), temperature of 14°C and dew point temperature of 14°C and the altimeter setting was 30.04 inches of mercury. The freezing level was about 12,800 ft, and no significant turbulence was identified. A Pilot Report (PIREP) from a similar airplane at an altitude of 11,500 ft was transmitted at 1039, about 18 miles west of the accident site. The PIREP identified that the visibility was 10 statute miles, and the clouds were overcast between 9,000 ft and 12,000 ft. The airplane wreckage was located at an elevation of 9,209 ft.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted densely wooded mountainous terrain on a heading of 221° magnetic. The wreckage debris path was about 198 ft in length and 92 ft wide, oriented on a heading of 221° magnetic. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) with terrain was a small swath of compacted dirt about 5 ft in length by 1 ft in width, which contained fragments of blue paint. A subsequent medium swath of compacted dirt about 7 ft in length by 1 ft in width contained fragments of blue and white paint. The main structural components of the empennage, left wing, fuselage and cabin were entangled in trees about 70 ft from the FIPC. The right wing was separated from the main wreckage and came to rest about 85 ft from the FIPC, near the spinner, propeller hub and two propeller blades. The firewall and instrument panel separated from the main wreckage and came to rest about 98 ft from the FIPC. The engine was located about 132 ft from the FIPC. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the debris path.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.