NTSB Identification: CHI02FA269.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, September 03, 2002 in Tappen, ND
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Cessna TR182, registration: N756WF
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 airplane was destroyed by fire after impacting the terrain, following a loss of control. The pilot and passenger were inspecting high tension power lines when the accident occurred. The airplane was following a set of high-tension lines that ran eastbound from Bismarck, along Interstate 94. One person, located approximately 6 miles west of the accident site, reported that the airplane was flying along the south side of the lines, slightly below the height of the lower towers. Another set of power lines, coming from the northwest, join up and run parallel on the north side of the lines being followed. The two sets of lines diverge at the accident site with the northern most lines turning toward the south across the airplane's flight path. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying low and slow near the power lines, heading from the west to the east. Inspection of the towers and lines did not reveal any evidence that the airplane had contacted them. The bid paperwork that was forwarded to the NTSB from the pilot's company did not show the intersecting power lines. The owner of the power lines provided a supplemental plan profile, which did show the intersecting lines. It is not know if the pilot had the plan profile. The North Dakota Aeronautical Chart and the Twin Cities Sectional both show the intersecting power lines. The pilot's wife stated that she did not recall the pilot using any maps or charts during the portion of the flight when she was on board.

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

The pilot's inadequate visual lookout and his failure to maintain clearance of the transmission wires. Also causal was inadequate preflight planning. Factors associated with the accident were the low altitude and airspeed when the abrupt maneuver was made and the high tension power lines.

Full narrative available

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