NTSB Identification: SEA97FA133.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 09, 1997 in RED LODGE, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: Cessna U206E, registration: N206EC
Injuries: 3 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.

The non instrument-rated pilot obtained two separate weather briefings on the late afternoon and following morning prior to departing on his intended flight from Glendive, MT, to McCall, ID. He was advised by the briefer that 'VFR flight was not recommended' due to a low pressure system in Montana along with obscurations. The flight departed Glendive; and approximately 4 hours later, the pilot radioed Great Falls AFSS looking for a VFR airport available for landing. Witnesses observed seeing the aircraft exit clouds (bases approximately 6,000 feet MSL or 800 feet AGL) and break up, with both wings separating. Weather at the site was described as 'low clouds' and 'overcast' with poor visibility. Both wing struts separated at the strut-to-fuselage attach points, and the right wing was found in two separate pieces just short of the intact left wing. Both wings impacted terrain short of the fuselage ground impact site. The wing spar carry-through channel was observed to have separated just inboard of the right wing-root to fuselage attach point. The fracture surfaces were characteristic of instantaneous overload separations. All horizontal and vertical control surfaces remained with the fuselage except the right elevator.

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

The pilot-in-command's flight into known adverse weather and the subsequent overload and separation of the right wing-strut fuselage-to-strut attach point. Factors contributing were clouds and obscuration.

Full narrative available

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