NTSB Identification: SEA91FA046.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 43271.
Accident occurred Saturday, February 02, 1991 in COLSTRIP, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA C-172, registration: N8531B
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.

THE ACFT IMPACTED A RIDGELINE ON DOWNWIND IN THE TRAFFIC PATTERN WHILE THE PILOT WAS ON A NIGHT CURRENCY TRAINING FLIGHT AT A RECENTLY OPENED LIGHTED AIRPORT. THE PILOT HAD 4 HOURS TOTAL NIGHT FLIGHT TIME, WITH .8 HOURS PIC, ALL FLOWN DURING INITIAL PILOT TRAINING IN 1984. HE HAD NO RECORDED NIGHT FLIGHT TIME SINCE. HE WAS NOT INSTRUMENT RATED AND HAD NO INSTRUMENT FLIGHT TIME. THE AIRPORT IS LOCATED IN AN UNPOPULATED MOUNTAINOUS AREA WITH VERY LITTLE ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. THERE WAS NO NATURAL ILLUMINATION AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE TERRAIN CLEARANCE. FACTORS RELATING TO THE ACCIDENT WERE THE PILOT'S LACK OF TOTAL NIGHT FLIGHT EXPERIENCE, HIS LACK OF RECENT NIGHT FLIGHT EXPERIENCE, THE DARK NIGHT LIGHT CONDITIONS, AND THE MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY TERRAIN IN THE AREA.

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