Date & Time: Jan 9, 2021 at 1336 LT
Type of aircraft:
Cessna 560 Citation V
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Troutdale – Boise
Crew on board:
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
On January 9, at 1336 Pacific standard time (PST), a Cessna 560, N3RB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Warm Springs, Oregon. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. The pilot had filed an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan to Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field (BOI), Boise, Idaho. Security video footage from a local fixed base operator at the departure airport in Troutdale, Oregon, revealed that the pilot boarded the airplane and closed the cabin door at 1244. Preliminary FAA air traffic control audio data indicated that about 5 minutes later, he initiated radio contact with the Troutdale clearance controller, and requested to open his IFR clearance. The ground controller provided the clearance, the pilot read it back correctly, and about nine minutes later, the pilot stated that he was ready to taxi and that he had information Foxtrot. The controller stated that information Golf was current, and provided instructions to taxi to runway 07. The pilot replied, but only stated the altimeter setting, “3025”, and the ground controller asked him to respond with the full taxi instructions. The pilot responded, and about 1300 the airplane began to taxi to the runway hold short line. The airplane arrived at the hold short line about 1304, and the ground controller asked if the pilot was ready for departure, to which he replied, “just a minute”. About two minutes later, a partial transmission of the pilot’s voice could be heard, and the local controller asked twice if it was N3RB. The pilot stated that it was him, and the controller issued a takeoff clearance. The pilot responded, and by 1307 the airplane had taken off. Shortly after departure, the controller requested that the pilot contact Portland Approach/Departure controllers, and he responded in the affirmative. The pilot then contacted Portland Approach, and was provided instructions to ident and to climb and maintain 15,000 ft. The pilot responded with a partial response of, “up to 15”, following which the controller confirmed radar contact, and provided a heading change left to 310. The pilot did not respond, and airplane did not turn, and over the next minute, both the Portland Approach and Troutdale Tower controller made multiple attempts to contact the pilot. On the fifth attempt by the approach controller, the pilot responded and was provided the left heading. The airplane then began to turn left, and after one minute the controller issued a heading update to 180, and told the pilot to expect vectors for the TIMEE intersection after reaching 10,000 ft. The pilot did not respond until the controller issued the instruction a second time. About one minute later, the airplane had reached 10,000 ft and was on a southbound track. The controller then issued a clearance direct to the TIMEE intersection. The pilot responded, and the airplane began to turn left, however its heading was about 15° left of what was required to reach the TIMEE intersection. By 1315:30, the airplane had reached an altitude of 12,000 ft, and the controller asked the pilot to verify he was direct TIMEE. The pilot responded that he was, however, the airplanes track had not changed, and the airplane was now flying directly toward Mount Hood, about 27 miles east-southeast. After the airplane had reached an altitude of 13,000 ft, the controller issued a right turn to 130, and the pilot responded with the correct readback, however the airplane turned left. The controller asked of the pilot was flying direct TIMEE, to which he replied, “I was”. The controller explained that the pilot was in fact flying on a northeast track, and provided another right heading change to 130. The pilot responded, and the airplane began a right turn, eventually rolling out on a 130 track, following which the controller issued a frequency change to Seattle Center. The pilot responded with the correct frequency but about one minute later, he called back with a confirmation of the Seattle center frequency. By this time the airplane had reached an altitude of 14,000 ft, and after successfully making contact with Seattle Center, the Seattle controller immediately provided the pilot with a low altitude alert warning, stating that he was just above the minimum IFR altitude for that sector (by this time the airplane was flying just south of the peak of Mount Hood), and issued a clearance to FL 230. The pilot responded, and the airplane continued to climb. The controller then asked the pilot if he was having problems with his radio, to which responded, “no, I think it’s cleared up now, radio loud and clear”. The controller then issued the pilot with a clearance direct to BOI. About 13:23, having reached an altitude of 19,000 ft the pilot was provided a new frequency for Seattle Center. He responded with an incorrect frequency, and was corrected by the controller. The pilot then successfully made contact with the new controller, who issued a clearance to flight level 370. The pilot responded, and the airplane continued to track in the general direction of BOI while continuing to climb. At the 1327 the airplane had reached an altitude of 27,000 ft when it began to track to the right while continuing to climb. The controller alerted the pilot that he was about 30° right of course, but the pilot did not respond. The airplane continued to climb, until 1328:45, when it reached its highest altitude of 31,000 ft. The airplane began to descend, and remained for the next eight minutes in a spiraling and descending 1-mile radius right turn. The last ADS-B target was recorded at 1336:27, with the airplane on a northwest heading at an altitude of 3,800 ft. The airplane struck the ground in the Mutton Mountain Range, at an elevation of 3,600 ft. Review of photos of the accident site revealed a 1,500 ft long debris field on an approximate heading of 330° magnetic. The entire airplane sustained heavy fragmentation and thermal damage. The cockpit voice recorder was recovered, and sent to the NTSB Recorders Division for data extraction, and the wreckage was recovered to an off-site facility for further examination. The pilot held a private pilot certificate, and although he held type ratings for the Grumman G-111 Albatross and Learjet, FAA records did not indicate that he held a type rating for the Citation 560. He had taken Citation 560 training toward the end of 2020 at a training facility in Arizona, however the owner of the facility stated that the pilot had not performed to a level sufficient to be issued a type rating or single pilot exemption. Review of historical flight data, and statements provided by acquaintances of the pilot, indicate that this was likely the first time he had flown the airplane on his own.