NTSB Identification: SEA97GA008.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 10, 1996 in HOLDEN, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N91017
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

: 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 public aircraft accident report.

The first pilot, seated in the front seat of the public use airplane, was banking the airplane to the left while flying in close proximity to the ground over an open field in pursuit of running coyote. The first pilot was in the second phase of an agency training program. The second pilot, acting as a part-time instructor pilot/gunner and seated in the rear seat, was pointing a shotgun outside the airplane in an attempt to kill the coyote as per the agency's aerial hunting program. The airplane aerodynamically stalled during the maneuver and entered an uncontrolled descent; it impacted the ground in a near-vertical, inverted attitude and was destroyed. An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The airplane was about 75 pounds over its published maximum gross weight, and the density altitude was about 6,500 feet during the accident. Unapproved modifications to the airplane and inadequate maintenance record keeping by the operator were found during the investigation. The second pilot's throttle handle was not installed in the throttle control at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The first pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering the airplane in close proximity to the ground. This subsequently led to an aerodynamic stall and uncontrolled descent into the ground. Factors contributing to the accident include the lack of adequate altitude to recover from the stall, the pilot's failure to operate the airplane within its published weight and balance envelope, and high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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