Accident Cessna 500 Citation I Sierra Eagle N8DX, Friday 24 March 2017
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Date:Friday 24 March 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic C500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 500 Citation I Sierra Eagle
Owner/operator:Shelter Charter Services
Registration: N8DX
MSN: 500-0303
Year of manufacture:1976
Total airframe hrs:9299 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Marietta, GA -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Cincinnati Municipal Airport, OH (LUK/KLUK)
Destination airport:Atlanta-Fulton County Airport, GA (FTY/KFTY)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Cessna 500, N8DX, collided with terrain in a residential neighborhood near Marietta, Georgia, USA. The private pilot, and sole
occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by the impact and post-impact fire.
The flight originated from Cincinnati Airport, Ohio, about 18:12 hours local time, and was destined for Atlanta-Fulton County Airport, Georgia.
The flight was uneventful until the air traffic controller amended the flight plan, which required the pilot to manually enter the new routing information into the GPS. A few minutes later, the pilot told the controller that he was having problems with the GPS and asked for a direct route to his destination. The controller authorized the direct route and instructed the pilot to descend from 22,000 ft to 6,000 ft, during which time the sound of the autopilot disconnect was heard on the cockpit voice recorder.
During the descent, the pilot told the controller that the airplane had a steering problem and was in the clouds. The pilot was instructed to descend the airplane to 4,100 ft, which was the minimum vectoring altitude. The airplane continued to descend, entered visual meteorological conditions, and then descended below the assigned altitude. The controller queried the pilot about the airplane's low altitude and instructed the pilot to maintain 4,100 ft. The pilot responded that he was unsure if he would be able to climb the airplane back to that altitude due to steering issues. The controller issued a low altitude warning and again advised the pilot to climb back to 4,100 ft. The pilot responded that the autopilot was working again and that he was able to climb the airplane to the assigned altitude.
The controller then instructed the pilot to change to another radio frequency, but the pilot responded that he was still having a problem with the GPS. The pilot asked the controller to give him direct routing to the airport. A few minutes later, the pilot told the controller that he was barely able to keep the airplane straight and its wings level. The controller asked the pilot if he had the airport in sight, which he did not. The pilot then declared an emergency and expressed concerns related to identifying the landing runway. Afterward, radio contact between the controller and the pilot was lost. Shortly before the airplane impacted the ground, a witness saw the airplane make a complete 360° roll to the left, enter a steep 90° bank to the left, roll inverted, and enter a vertical nose-down dive. Another witness saw the airplane spiral to the ground. The airplane impacted the front lawn of a private residence, and a postcrash fire ensued.

The aircraft was a Sierra Eagle wing conversion of a Cessna 500 Citation I. This performance upgrade also allows single pilot operations. However, the NTSB found no record of the pilot receiving training for single-pilot operations in the accident airplane. Therefore it was unlikely that the pilot was properly certificated to act as a single-pilot.
The pilot historically had difficulty flying the airplane without the aid of the autopilot. Given the pilot's previous experience with the GPS installed on the airplane, it is likely that during the accident flight the pilot became confused about how to operate the GPS and ultimately was unable to properly control of the airplane without the autopilot engaged.

Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while manually flying the airplane, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's inability control the airplane without the aid of the autopilot.


22:53 UTC / 18:53 local time:
KFTY 242253Z 16009KT 10SM SCT060 23/08 A3027 RMK AO2 SLP246 T02280083
Weather at Fulton County Airport: wind 160° at 9 knots; scattered clouds at 6000 feet; Tempeture 23°C, Dew point: 8°C

23:47 UTC / 19:47 local time:
KRYY 242347Z 16008KT 10SM OVC055 21/09 A3028
Weather at Cobb Country Airport: wind 160° at 8 knots; overcast at 5500 feet; Tempeture 21°C, Dew point: 9°C

23:53 UTC / 19:53 local time:
KFTY 242353Z 17006KT 10SM OVC060 22/09 A3028 RMK AO2 SLP250 T02220089 10233 20211 55006
Weather at Fulton County Airport: wind 170° at 6 knots; overcast at 6000 feet; Tempeture 22°C, Dew point: 9°C

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA17FA135
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Download report: Final report





photo (c) NTSB; Marietta, GA; March 2017; (publicdomain)

photo (c) Flightaware / Google Earth; Marietta, GA; 24 March 2017

photo (c) Alec Wilson; Fort Lauderdale-Executive Airport, FL (FXE/KFXE); 11 February 2017

Revision history:


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