Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cessna 182T Skylane, Civil Air Patrol, N784CP: Fatal accident occurred February 01, 2016 near Mobile Regional Airport (KMOB), Mobile County, Alabama

Civil Air Patrol:

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA100 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 01, 2016 in Mobile, AL
Aircraft: CESSNA 182T, registration: N784CP
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 1, 2016, about 1945 central standard time, a Cessna 182T, N784CP, was destroyed by a collision with trees, terrain and a post-crash fire following a missed approach to the Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Mobile, Alabama. The airline transport pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Civil Air Patrol as a personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Louisiana Regional Airport (L38), Gonzales, Louisiana, about 1830.

The flight was returning to its home base at Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM), Mobile, Alabama. While in flight, the pilot contacted air traffic control and requested to divert to MOB. At 1935, approach control cleared the flight to MOB via radar vectors. The automated terminal information service-provided weather information for MOB was verified with the pilot and the airplane was vectored to a base leg 7 miles outside of the final approach fix, and cleared for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 15. At 1936, approach control issued alternate missed approach instructions, which included a climb to 2,000 feet and to maintain runway heading. Once acknowledged by the pilot, he was advised to contact the control tower.

The pilot checked in with the control tower and was cleared to land on runway 15. At 1944, the pilot declared a missed approach and the control tower responded by restating the climb to 2,000 feet and verified that he was issued the runway heading; the pilot responded "affirmative." Shortly thereafter, the tower controller noticed that the airplane was not climbing and reissued the instruction to climb to 2,000 feet; the pilot responded "roger." This was the last transmission made by the pilot. At 1945, the tower controller informed approach control that the airplane had been lost from radar.

Local authorities were notified and a ground search was initiated near the area of the airplane's last radar-derived position. The wreckage was located in a swampy, wooded area at approximately 0151 the following day.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially impacted the top of a 90-foot-tall pine tree. About 50 feet from the base of the pine tree, the right wing and outboard section of the left wing came to rest. The debris path was orientated on a magnetic heading of about 150 degrees and extended about 360 ft. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the left and right horizontal stabilizer and both elevators, and the inboard section of the left wing. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

At 1956, surface weather observation for MOB, about 2 miles northeast of the accident site, included wind from 140 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 1/2 statute-mile in fog, and vertical visibility 200 ft.. The temperature was 18 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.93 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Birmingham FSDO-09

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

MOBILE, AL (WALA) - Wreckage is being removed from an area where a small aircraft crashed Monday night near the Mobile Regional Airport.

Maj. David R. Mauritson of Fairhope and 2nd Lt. Phil J. Dryden of Gulf Shores were returning to Mobile from a compassion flight flying an individual to Baton Rouge for medical care. Both men died in the crash.

Tuesday investigators were looking for clues that might explain how the Cessna 182, which was returning from a humanitarian flight, went down shortly before 8:00 p.m. the night before. The bodies of the two pilots on board were recovered Tuesday evening. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

"I won't speculate on anything," NTSB investigator Eric Alleyene told journalists during a press briefing on Wednesday. 

He said, "Although the accident just took a few seconds to happen, the investigation may take a few months before we actually find or determine a probable cause."

There was low visibility Monday night due to fog, which hampered efforts of emergency responders in finding the crash sight. Alleyene would not speculate on whether the fog played a part in the accident.

Alleyne also said, "On behalf of the NTSB I would like to give our condolences to the family and the friends of the two occupants on on board."

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Mission scanner 2nd Lt. Phil J. Dryden of Gulf Shores and Maj. David R. Mauritson, of Fairhope were killed in a small plane crash Monday night, Feb. 1, 2016.

Reports started streaming in to local emergency officials just before 8 p.m. on Monday that a plane was missing, prompting a large response in an effort to locate the plane.

After hours of searching, officials announced that the wreckage had been found and two lives had been lost.

Two Alabama men remembered

Civil Air Patrol Deputy Director of Public Affairs Julie DeBardelaben said the crash killed pilot Maj. David R. Mauritson, 67, of Fairhope, and mission scanner 2nd Lt. Phil J. Dryden, 66, of Gulf Shores.

Mauritson has been a member of CAP since September 1991 and Dryden has been a member of CAP since Nov. 2015.

He's had his pilot license since he was a teenager, and survived a nasty plane crash in Tuscaloosa in 1995, where he worked as a cardiologist.

His wife Eleanora told that her husband was "a good man and a caring person." He graduated from Harvard Medical School and had been flying for 50 years.

Mauritson's mother taught him how to fly, and he taught both of his adult children. He helped fly angel flights as well other humanitarian missions.

Eleanora said that her heart goes out to the Dryden family after the tragic accident Monday night. "I know what they're going through," she said.

Mauritson flew as a volunteer pilot for Mercy Flight Southeast, based in Leesburg, Florida, and for SouthWings, an aviation-oriented conservation group. He was a certified flight instructor with 50 years of flying experience.

He was chairman of the Awards Committee of the Flying Physicians Association, previously served as its president and received the group's Distinguished Service award in 2004. A lawyer as well as a physician, he also belonged to the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association.

"Dr. Maurtison  was a hero to our Mercy Flight Southeast family having signed up to fly 33 missions over the years," said Steve Purello, CEO of Mercy Flight Southeast.

"He was an admired pilot who flew over 11,000 hours and was a certified instructor.Taught to fly by his mother who was also a certified flight instructor, David passed along his passion for flying to his children and was their instructor as well. His compassion and commitment to our cause to get people to far from home medical care will be sorely missed. Our sincerest condolences go out to the Mauritson and Dryden families." 

Mercy Flight Southeast's network of 650 volunteer pilots provides free air transportation to life-saving medical appointments for people who otherwise could not get there. 

Dryden's son Gene posted several pictures of his father with planes and boats, a testament to the time they spent together and how he will be missed. "In memory of a man I am proud to call my father," he captioned the photos. "I will always miss you, and I will never forget you."

Gene was unavailable for further comment Tuesday afternoon.

Dryden joined CAP on Nov. 3 and gained certification in emergency services and trained as a mission scanner. He served as the Mobile squadron's assistant operations officer.

Early Tuesday morning, Mobile Airport Authority Executive Director Roger Wehner confirmed that two people are deceased after a plane crashed near the airport.

What happened?

The crash's cause is still under investigation.

Keith Holloway with the National Transportation Safety Board said the agency's investigator arrived in Mobile early Tuesday morning, ready to begin an investigation into what brought down the small plane.

Holloway identified the aircraft as a Cessna 182.

"It was found in a heavily wooded area near Mobile Regional Airport," said Holloway.

Holloway confirmed the flight was a Civil Air Patrol flight, and the Cessna 182 is a model used with the program.

Civil Air Patrol is best known for its program that allows JROTC cadets under 18-years-of age to learn to fly with a licensed pilot through an Air Force auxiliary program.

They also help with charity and humanitarian flights, which they were doing on Monday night, according to DeBardelaben. The pilot bears the expense of the fuel, maintenance and related costs for such flights.

"The CAP members were returning to Mobile from a compassion flight flying an individual to Baton Rouge for medical care," said DeBardelaben.

"A distress beacon from the aircraft was received approximately 8 p.m. Monday, and the crash site was located by CAP members and local first responders."

Civil Air Patrol is headquartered out of Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.

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