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Wed, Mar 23, 2022

NTSB Prelim: Cessna 182Q

The Controller Stated, “I’M Receiving A Low Altitude Alert. Check Your Altitude”

Location: Panama City, FL Accident Number: ERA22FA149
Date & Time: March 8, 2022, 18:46 Local Registration: N182XT
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 8, 2022, at 1846 central standard time, a Cessna 182Q airplane, N182XT, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), Panama City, Florida. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated by the pilot as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Review of Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot initiated an instrument flight rules (IFR) cross-country flight from his home airport of Jack Barstow Airport (IKW), Midland, Michigan at 1212 eastern standard time and arrived at Warren County Memorial Airport (RNC), McMinnville, Tennessee at 1503 central standard time for a total time enroute of 3 hours and 51 minutes. A fuel receipt showed that at 1520 the pilot purchased 74 gallons of 100-low lead fuel. The pilot departed at 1554 and arrived in the ECP area after about 2 hours and 45 minutes of flight time.

Review of preliminary air traffic control communications provided by the United States Air Force and FAA revealed that the flight was in contact with Tyndall Air Force Base (Tyndall Approach). The controller informed the pilot that information “quebec” was current, cleared him to OTTOE intersection (initial approach fix), and subsequently issued a clearance for the straight-in ILS runway 16 approach. A few minutes after the approach clearance the pilot confirmed that he was “established” on the approach and the controller instructed the pilot to contact the ECP air traffic control tower.

The pilot radioed the ECP air traffic control tower and informed the controller he was inbound on the ILS 16 approach. The controller acknowledged and then provided the current weather observation at the airport which included wind at 150° at 6 knots, visibility 2 statute miles, mist, overcast ceiling at 200 ft above ground level, and a barometric pressure of 29.92 inches Hg. The pilot stated, “200 overcast we’ll give it and try and see if we can get her down.” The controller then issued a landing clearance and subsequently offered to turn the approach lights up to the highest setting available with the pilot’s concurrence. The pilot stated, “affirmative that would be good” and the controller responded with “roger.” The controller subsequently warned the pilot that if he did get beneath the overcast clouds, the approach lights would be bright, and the pilot acknowledged.

About 40 seconds later, the controller stated, “I’m receiving a low altitude alert. Check your altitude” to which the pilot stated “affirmative.” The controller then advised the pilot that Tyndall Approach noticed his flight track was deviating to the right [of the final approach course] and to use caution. He then provided the wind and ceiling information, which had not changed from the previous information provided. The pilot stated “affirmative”, and the controller followed up by stating, “one more thing, and then I won’t transmit again. There are other airports nearby with better weather conditions.” The pilot stated, “alright we’ll try this down to minimums and go-around if need be.”

About 12 seconds later the controller stated, “it appears you are drifting a little to the right” and then repeated “it appears you are drifting well to the right.” There were no further communications from the pilot despite several attempts from the controller to reach him. The controller subsequently alerted airport operations of a possible downed aircraft.

Review of the ADS-B flight track in the final approach phase found that the airplane’s course deviated left and right from the initial approach fix to the accident site, which was 1.55 nautical miles from the runway threshold. The airplane’s altitude showed momentary descents and climbs while on final approach. The final ADS-B data point recorded the airplane at 75 ft mean seal level, 144 knots groundspeed, with a ground track heading of 130°.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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