Pendleton Mountain, CO. Civil Air Patrol Pilot Dies in Crash of CAP 182R During Search for Missing Hiker, Aug 1988

In early-August, 1988, Chicago Sportswriter
Keith Reinhardt, a novice and somewhat
fearful hiker, attempted to climb the steep
and heavily wooded slope of Pendleton
Mountain, north of Silver Plume Colorado.
He left in the late afternoon for a climb that
would take an experienced hiker several
hours. He had no map, compass or
flashlight, nor extra clothing. He was
wearing blue jeans, a cotton shirt, and
tennis shoes. He took only a can of soda.
Reinhardt failed to return that evening.
Starting the next afternoon, rescuers
searched for seven days. Due to the rugged
terrain, and sizeable search area, other
Mountain Rescue Association volunteers
from throughout the western United States
were recruited. In addition, six helicopters,
and two fixed-wing aircraft from the Civil
Air Patrol, participated On August 29, 1988, the fifth day of the search, a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182R fixed wing
aircraft participated in the search, with
pilot Terry Leadens and spotter Don
Drobny. Due to a large number of search
and rescue helicopters operating that day,
the SAR Incident Command requested the
fixed-wing pilot to maintain an altitude
above 13,000 feet MSL.
For unknown reasons, the pilot descended
well below the 13,000-foot level during his
flight. It is estimated that he was flying at
11,000 feet when…

A passenger reported that the pilot said
‘I don’t like the feel of this.’ A
paramedic said the passenger also
related that they had ‘hit a downdraft.’
A helicopter pilot flying in the area said
that the winds were not conducive for fixed wing flights, especially in the
trenches. The broken trees indicated a
descent angle of 45 degrees. The
distance from the first tree strike to the
main wreckage was 62 feet. The
aircraft came to a rest on its nose. The
terrain elevation was about 10,600 feet.

When the Cessna failed to make its hourly
radio check-in, a search began. Thanks to
the skill of KCNC-TV helicopter pilot Mike
Silva, the crash site was located within
minutes. Despite Silva’s report that “the
crash site looks catastrophic,” rescuers were
immediately flown to the site by Army
Chinook helicopter, where they rescued the
passenger, who survived the crash
numerous despite serious injuries.
The National Transportation Safety
Board determines the probable cause(s)
of this accident as follows: Weather
evaluation – Inadequate - pilot in
command; Airspeed – Inadequate -
pilot in command; Altitude –
Inadequate - pilot in command