NTSB Identification: FTW97FA221.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 15, 1997 in GREENBRIER, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N738YG
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 aircraft accident report.
During an aerial photography flight maneuver, the airplane impacted power lines (35' high) and trees (40' high) during an uncontrolled descent. Witnesses heard the aircraft engine, did not recall any discrepancies with the aircraft, and observed the airplane maneuvering in the area of power lines, trees, and a water tower (92' high). The commercial pilot flew his initial 10 hours of aerial photography with a company photographer (formerly a company pilot). Company guidelines stated, in part, that the pilot is required to adjust altitude and radius according to the 'photographer's command.' The company operated without a flight department head and none of the company management personnel were pilots or mechanics. There were no written guidelines for training or pairing of pilots and photographers. There was no formal pilot flight training curriculum specific to the type of flying. Aircraft records did not reveal any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies that would have contributed to the accident. Flight control continuity was confirmed to the flight control surfaces. The flaps were in the retracted position. Toxicology was negative.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during a low altitude maneuver. Factors were the pilot's lack of total experience in the type of operation and inadequate training by the company management. Full narrative available
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