Monroe, LA Two Civil Air Patrol Officers Killed in a Crash of a CAP Cessna 182 on a Training Mission, Jan 2005

N9474E

The following details have been made public on the January 10th 2005 crash of N9474E a Louisiana Wing Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182 Skylane.
Majors Arlan Rawls and Tommy Ray Nichols, both members of the wing’s Monroe Senior Squadron, were killed after their Civil Air Patrol Cessna C-182 went down during a training mission at about 8 pm. The two were practicing instrument approaches in Instrument Meteorological Conditions in the vicinity of Monroe Regional Airport.
The single-engine 182 Cessna was reported missing late Monday. The wreckage was found at 7:10 am, today off Louisiana Highway 134 near the border between Ouachita and Morehouse parishes following an 11-hour search by police and rescue workers using four-wheelers and boats, said Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Capt Danny Acree.
Ouachita and Morehouse Parish sheriff’s deputies, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries agents, local emergency response personnel and members of the Louisiana Wing were called to search for the plane. The search area was narrowed significantly after a woman living near Wham Break, a body of water on the Ouachita-Morehouse Parish line, reported to law enforcement officials she heard a loud noise in the area behind her home.
The wreckage was found in about eight to 12 inches of water in a pond that once served as a runoff for a now-closed paper mill, authorities said. The plane went down about eight miles northeast of the Monroe Regional Airport, the point of takeoff Monday evening, authorities said.
Authorities said the last message informed air controllers that the plane would alter its course. No distress signals were reported.
“From what I heard, there was no mayday at all. They went below radar and all radio contact was lost,” said Lt Suzann Ford, public information officer with the Louisiana Wing of the CAP.
Ford described the flight as a training exercise. She said a pilot was apparently practicing approach maneuvers when the crash occurred.
Thirteen ground team members from the Ruston Composite Squadron responded to the all-night search effort. Aircraft from the Shreveport Senior Squadron were on standby to begin an aerial search the morning of Jan 12.
However, LDWF agents, who were searching by boat, found the wreckage in shallow water at approximately 7 am.

- AuxBeacon News

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NTSB Narrative:

The two Civil Air Patrol pilots took off on a dark night in order to shoot a number of practice instrument approaches in VFR conditions. The pilot who was believed to be sitting in the left seat and shooting the approaches was not instrument current at the time. After shooting the first approach, and just after being cleared for the second, the crew was advised that the ceiling had become 900 feet broken and that the field was then IFR. When queried by the controller, the crew said they wanted to continue their series of approaches via an IFR clearance. During the second approach they had trouble intercepting the localizer, and although they had by that time decided to make the next landing a full-stop, because they could not get established on the localizer, they eventually had to execute a missed approach. During the next approach they again had trouble getting established on the localizer, and when advised that they had a C130 following them on an approach for landing, the crew requested another missed approach. During that missed approach, while making a climbing turn in order to be repositioned for another approach, the flying pilot lost control of the aircraft, which descended into the waters of a shallow water collection pond/swamp.
Probable Cause: The failure of the pilot manipulating the controls to maintain aircraft control during a night missed approach in instrument meteorological conditions. Factors include a dark night and low ceilings.