NTSB Identification: DEN90LA075.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41627.
Accident occurred Sunday, March 18, 1990 in ELKHORN, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/15/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N61918
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE FLIGHT FLEW LOW AND SLOW UP A STEEP CANYON. THE PILOT SAID THE FLIGHT ENCOUNTERED A STRONG DOWNDRIFT AND COULD NOT MAINTAIN ALTITUDE WITH FULL POWER APPLIED. THE PILOT SAID THE CANYON WALLS CLIMBED STEEPLY AND NARROWED RAPIDLY, PREVENTING HIM FROM TURNING BACK OUT OF THE CANYON. THE PLANE NOSED DOWN INTO THE TREES, WEDGED AGAINST A TREE TRUNK, AND CAME TO REST 8 FEET OFF THE GROUND IN A NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE. THE PILOT SAID THE RIGHT WING, FUSELAGE AND THE PROPELLER WERE BENT. THE PILOT SAID HE SHOULD HAVE SELECTED A HIGHER ALTITUDE AND NOT FLOWN UP THE CANYON.

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

THE PILOT'S DECISION TO ATTEMPT FLIGHT IN TERRAIN AND CONDITIONS WHICH EXCEEDED THE PERFORMANCE CAPABILITIES OF THE AIRPLANE.

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