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Date:Wednesday 22 March 1995
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster
Operator:Union Flights
Registration: N9417B
MSN: 208B0065
First flight: 1987
Total airframe hrs:4959
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Reno, NV (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 1851 m (6073 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Sacramento Metropolitan Airport, CA (SMF/KSMF), United States of America
Destination airport:Reno/Tahoe International Airport, NV (RNO/KRNO), United States of America
Approaching Reno (RNO), the pilot received an instrument clearance to perform a Localizer DME-1, runway 16R, approach, which the FAA had previously approved for the operator's use. The localizer centreline passed over a 6,161-foot (1885 m) msl mountain, which was depicted on the chart. The pilot was familiar with the area, having transported cargo from Sacramento to Reno for 5 days each week since December, 1994. IMC existed and light snow showers were present. ATC issued the pilot a series of instructions as he was radar vectored toward the final approach fix (FAF), which had a minimum crossing altitude of 6,700 feet (2050 m) msl. The pilot misstated four of the instructions during clearance read backs and was corrected by ATC each time. Contact with the pilot was lost following issuance of his landing clearance. The airplane impacted the mountainside at an elevation of about 6,050 feet (1851 m), while tracking inbound near the centreline of the localizer course, about 2.7 nautical miles before reaching the FAF.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to comply with published instrument approach procedures by a premature descent below the minimum altitude specified for the approach. "

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 6 months
Accident number: LAX95FA141
Download report: Summary report
Language: English

Premature descent
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» NTSB id LAX95FA141


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Sacramento Metropolitan Airport, CA to Reno/Tahoe International Airport, NV as the crow flies is 180 km (112 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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