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A Brief History: The Cessna 210

by Jack Penning

Posted on May 19, 2006 at 11:55 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:46 PM

After the crash of a Cessna 210 on Thursday in Battle Ground, I did a little research on the type. The Cessna 210 is widely considered one of the best single-engine aircraft ever built. Pilots says it's stable in flight... provides good performance... and is easy to handle. Between 1960 and 1986, Cessna built 9240 210's... a huge number of planes, many of which are still flying all over the world. When you take into considerartion the size of the Cessna 210 fleet, there have been relatively few incidents and accidents involving the plane.

Cessna 210.jpg
Cessna 210, Courtesy NOAA

We found 13 Cessna 210 accident reports, from the National Transportation Safety Bureau, in the last 5 months (since the beginning of the year). In only one of the accidents was someone killed.

One of those reports sounds very similar to the accident Thursday in Battle Ground: a pilot who couldn't stop the plane before it left the end of the runway, and smashed into a fence.

I've attached all 13 preliminary reports below, in reverse chronological order. The last one on the list is the only incident in which an aircraft overran a runway.

Cessna 210 Accident Reports, January 1 - May 15, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006
Henryville, Indiana
1 Uninjured

The airplane collided with trees and the terrain following a loss of engine power during an instrument landing system approach. The pilot reported he switched fuel tanks from the right tank to the left tank during the approach. He then noticed a decrease in airspeed and no fuel flow indication on the fuel flow gauge. He then switched back to the right fuel tank. He stated he broke out of the clouds at 400 feet. He stated he made a turn to line up with a field and the airplane contacted tree tops. The pilot reported the airplane contacted the ground as he continued to line up with the field. Post accident inspection of the airplane revealed the left fuel tank was empty and the right fuel tank contained approximately 19 gallons of fuel.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Arkansas, Kansas
2 Serious Injuries

On April 19, 2006, approximately 2035 central daylight time, a Cessna T210N, N7617N, was destroyed when during low altitude cruise flight, the airplane struck power lines, and then impacted terrain near Arkansas, Kansas. A post-impact fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The private pilot and passenger on board the airplane sustained serious injuries.

Local law enforcement at the accident scene reported that the pilot may have been flying low taking pictures when the airplane struck the power lines. A power line was observed being down at the site. The deputy said that a post-crash fire consumed most of the airplane. He also said that the power was out in the area.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Ludville, Georgia
1 Fatal

A Cessna 210A, N6579X, owned and piloted by a commercial pilot, descended into remote mountainous terrain near Ludville, Georgia, after entering an area of thunderstorms. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The accident flight departed Prattville - Grouby Field Airport (1A9), Prattville, Alabama, at 1005, and was en route to Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field Airport (HEF), Manassas, Virginia.

At 1018, the pilot checked-on with Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and was subsequently handled by four sectors. The accident airplane was cleared to 11,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The pilot was not issued weather advisories or related SIGMETS, according to Atlanta ARTCC voice communications. At 1109:28, the pilot asked to deviate to the south due to weather. Atlanta ARTCC approved the turn to the south, but radar contact was lost at 1110:02 at 5,500 feet msl. A plot of the aircraft radar track data indicated that the airplane entered a level 6 thunderstorm prior to the loss of radar contact.

The airplane impacted about 3.3 nautical miles northwest of Ludville, Georgia, in rugged wooded terrain. The associated debris was located in two general areas, situated about 1 nautical mile apart from each other. The wreckage distribution was consistent with a low altitude in-flight breakup.

The main wreckage was situated in a four foot deep crater. There was limited damage to the overhead tree canopy, consistent with a near vertical descent path. The main wreckage consisted of the cockpit, engine, propeller, left and right main wing spars, nose and main landing gear, left and right flap, and portions of the empennage. The second area of wreckage consisted of portions of the left and right wing leading edges, the upper portion of the vertical stabilizer leading edge and tip rib, a small section of aileron and the left cabin door. The two ailerons and the outboard portion of the right elevator were not recovered during the on-scene investigation. Two of the three propeller blades were recovered, both of which exhibit chordwise scratches and blade twist. All four corners of the airplane were identified; cockpit/engine, left wing, empennage, right wing, and fuselage. The major airframe components, engine, and recovered propeller blades were transported to a local Department of Transportation accident reconstruction yard.

A two-dimensional wreckage layout confirmed flight control cable circuit continuity for ailerons, elevators, and rudder. The flaps and landing gear were fully retracted. Functional testing and disassembly of the wet vacuum pump showed no evidence of pre-impact failure. No gyros instruments were found intact. No liberated gyros were found at the accident site. The on-scene investigation did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies that would have prevented the normal operation of the airplane or its related systems.

Friday, April 14, 2006
Lubbock, Texas
1 Minor Injury

A Cessna 210F single-engine airplane, N1966S, was destroyed by fire following an inflight fire and subsequent emergency landing near Lubbock, Texas. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the Town and Country Airpark (F82), near Lubbock, Texas, about 1450.

According to the pilot, approximately five to seven minutes after takeoff, he heard a "poof" come from behind the instrument panel, smelled an odor consistent with an electrical fire, and observed dark gray smoke and flames around his feet. The pilot responded by turning off the electrical master switch to which no change was noted. The pilot then elected to perform an emergency landing to a soft cotton field. Shortly after touchdown the airplane nosed over and came to rest in an inverted position. The pilot was able to egress the airplane unassisted. The airplane was engulfed in flames a few minutes later.

Sunday, April 02, 2006
Wells, Nevada
2 Minor Injuries

The airplane veered off the runway and nosed over. Prior to departure the pilot obtained a full weather briefing, but there was no information regarding the surface winds at his destination airport. The pilot stated that the approach to runway 26 was normal, despite the crosswind conditions that he encountered. Just prior to touchdown a strong gust blew the airplane to the left side of the runway. He attempted to execute a go-around by adding full power, but the airplane was unable to get airborne due to the strong wind conditions. The airplane touched down off the runway surface and nosed over, coming to rest inverted. The airplane incurred damage to the wings and tail section.

Thursday, March 09, 2006
Jesup, Georgia
1 Minor Injury

A Cessna 210, N6540X, registered to CVL Enterprise LLC and operated by a private owner, as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees during a forced landing near Jesup, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage, and the airline transport rated pilot reported minor injuries. The flight originated from Malcolm McKinnon Airport, on December 1, 2006 at 1536.

The pilot stated he departed the Malcolm Mc Kinnon Airport (SSI), on an instrument cross-country flight to Peachtree DeKalb Airport (PDK). The pilot stated after climb out he leveled off at 6,000 feet, and noticed that the EDM #2 cylinder light began to flicker, and shortly after the low voltage light illuminated. The pilot contacted air traffic control personnel, and requested to return to SSI. After the request was made with ATC personnel to return to SSI, the engine began to make a loud "banging" noise, and then it seized. The pilot informed ATC of the emergency, and requested to divert to the nearest airport. ATC diverted the pilot to the Jesup-Wayne County Airport (JES), where he would attempt an emergency landing. The pilot stated that he was unable to maintain altitude, and crashed into a stand of trees two miles south east of JES.

Sunday, February 12, 2006
Long Beach, California
1 Serious Injury

A Cessna 210M, N6895B, collided with shipping containers during a forced landing on Pier J Berth 266 at the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed Compton/Woodley Airport (CPM), Compton, California, at an unknown time. A flight plan had not been filed.

According to witnesses, the airplane was traveling in a westbound direction near the water's edge. The airplane made a turn back towards the east, and then made a slight left turn northbound. While in the turn, the airplane flew between two shipping containers, and then struck the ground in a nose low attitude and came to rest against a shipping container. The witnesses reported that they did not notice any sound coming from the engine, nor did they notice the propeller or whether it was turning or not.

A witness stated that the pilot remained secured in his seat but was lying partially out of the airplane. Witnesses released the seat belt and removed the pilot from the airplane. They observed fuel leaking out of the forward part of the cockpit area, as well as the wings, and put sawdust down on the fuel to soak it up. They were not able to quantify the amount of fuel, but did report, "There was a lot of fuel coming out of the airplane." A witness also reported that the pilot indicated that there was a fuel problem, but did not elaborate as to what the fuel problem was.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) responded to and examined the airplane at the accident site. It came to rest on a magnetic heading of 030 degrees in a nose down attitude against a shipping container. The tail, the left landing gear, and a seat bottom separated from the airplane and were found about 30 feet south of the main wreckage. The wings remained connected to the fuselage. The left wing tip fairing separated from the wing, but was lying near the wing edge in its normal location. The navigation lights remained attached and intact on the wing tip. The right wing was bent about midspan, with the wing tip and navigations lights remaining attached and intact. The engine remained attached to the engine mounts and firewall, with the firewall partially separated from the cockpit area. There was no visible external damage to the engine. The 3-bladed propeller remained attached to the propeller assembly, which remained connected to the engine. One blade had chordwise scratching at the tip. The other two blades were not visibly damaged.

The two shipping containers that the airplane flew through were oriented along an east-west orientation. The container on the east side was gray with COSCO written on it. The other container was on the west side and red with no large lettering on it. Both containers, towards the edges, contained smaller identifying markings. A 10-foot space separated the two containers. The Safety Board IIC examined both shipping containers for impact damage. The gray container showed no evidence of impact damage. The red shipping container, on the southerly facing side, showed evidence of impact damage. A black transfer mark was on the shipping container about midspan of the container, and 4 feet down from the top of the container. The mark went up and towards the outer east side edge of the shipping container and measured 76 inches at a 10-degree angle in an upward direction. The top corner portion, about 2 feet inboard from the edge of the container, had a semicircular impression in it, and the adjacent top corner of the shipping container had a white paint transfer.

The left horizontal stabilizer's leading edge had a black rubber boot. A red paint transfer mark was on the black rubber section. The airplane's fuselage was torn open from the pilot's side door to the empennage. A red paint transfer mark similar in color to the red shipping container was along the length of the fuselage.

During the recovery, fuel was leaking out of multiple areas of both the left and right wings.

Saturday, February 11, 2006
Sarasota, Florida
1 Uninjured

A Cessna P210N, N6504P, registered to and operated by a private individual, experienced collapse of the nose landing gear during the landing roll at the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, Sarasota, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from Okeechobee County Airport, Okeechobee, Florida, to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated about 1330, from Okeechobee County Airport.

The pilot stated that after takeoff the flight proceeded to the destination airport where he was cleared to land on runway 14. He reported he lowered the landing gear and confirmed he had a green landing gear extended light and he visually saw that the nose and left main landing gears were down. He turned onto final approach and reported the landing was "...firm but not a hard landing." As the nose lowered he heard the propeller contact the runway and the airplane slid to a stop.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Rome, Georgia
2 Uninjured

A Cessna T210N, N2134U, registered to Dean Steel Buildings, Inc., and operated by a private individual as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, experienced total loss of engine power, and made a forced landing in the vicinity of Rome, Georgia. The airplane received substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot and private-rated passenger reported no injuries. The flight originated from the Richard B. Russell Airport, Rome Georgia, on February 1, 2006, at 1615.

Sunday, January 29, 2006
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
1 Serious Injury

A Cessna T210M, N761ZV, registered to and operated by an individual; as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, local flight, collided with the ground during an emergency landing at Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed. The airplane was destroyed by post impact fire, and the private-rated pilot received serious injuries. The flight originated from the Smyrna Airport, Smyrna, Tennessee, the same day, about 1420.

According to the Smyrna Airport control tower personnel, after departure the pilot reported that he needed to "come back and land" because of an electrical trim problem. Tower personnel advised the pilot that he was 5 miles south of the Murfreesboro Municipal Airport, which was the closest airport to his position. The pilot replied that he would continue and land at the Murfreesboro Airport. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the airplane flying "erratic," and "porpoising." The airplane collided with the ground short of runway 18. The emergency personnel who arrived on scene reported that the pilot stated, "that the electric trim was not working, and he was fighting the yoke all the way down."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Mariposa, California
1 Minor Injury, 1 Uninjured

A Cessna T210N, N4791C, experienced a total loss of engine power during cruise flight near Mariposa, California. During the subsequent forced landing on rough terrain, the airplane collided with objects and was substantially damaged. Representations, LLC., Santa Ynez, California, operated the airplane. The private pilot sustained minor injures, and the passenger was not injured. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed during the business flight that originated from Visalia, California, about 0900.

The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he intended to fly to Sacramento, California. However, because of inclement weather he planned to divert to an alternate location. While en route about 6,000 feet mean sea level, one cylinder in the engine indicated a loss of exhaust gas and cylinder head temperature. Thereafter, an increasingly strong vibration was felt, oil dispersed onto the front windscreen, and all engine power was lost. During the landing flare, the airplane impacted an oak tree, a fence, and a rock outcrop.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Midland, Texas
2 Uninjured

While in cruise flight at an altitude of 6,500 feet, the 1,150-hour commercial pilot noticed a rise in engine oil temperature. The pilot opened the cowl flaps and increased the mixture control, which reduced the EGT and the CHT. Approximately 5 minutes later, the engine started "running rough and sparks appeared from the cowling with loud bangs." The pilot shut-down the engine and extended the landing gear for a forced landing on a road. The airplane was unable to make the road and during the night forced landing in a mesquite covered field, the airplane sustained structural damage. An examination of the engine revealed that several of the engine's connecting rods had failed and the number one piston was found to be eroded.

Monday, January 02, 2006
Auburn, Alabama
2 Minor Injuries, 1 Uninjured

According to the pilot, while making a localizer approach to runway 36, in IFR conditions, the airplane broke out of the overcast at about 400 feet above ground level. The pilot forced the airplane down and landed about 2,000 feet past the runway's threshold at about 100 to 120 knots indicated airspeed. The pilot stated that he was unable to stop the airplane before it departed the end of the runway and collided with the airport's perimeter fencing. There were no mechanical problems reported by the pilot or discovered during the post-accident examination of the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause of this accident as follows: The pilot's failure to attain the proper touchdown point during landing which resulted in an overrun and subsequent on ground collision with a fence.