NTSB Identification: ANC04FA080.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 16, 2004 in Willow, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 170B, registration: N4588C
Injuries: 4 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 private certificated pilot was returning from a round-robin VFR personal flight with three passengers. The flight was paralleling a rural highway, and was observed by a witness about 30 feet above the trees, southbound on the west side of the highway. The nose of the airplane appeared "slightly up." It then made a smooth right turn, about 180 degrees toward the north, nosed down about 45 degrees, and descended from view into the trees. Another witness reported that she observed the airplane northbound at a low altitude on the west side of the highway. The airplane appeared to be making a right banking turn, and then nosed down toward the trees. The airplane began a 3/4 spiral turn downward and disappeared into the trees. An on-site investigation disclosed that the airplane collided with several trees, and then struck soft ground in about a 45 degree nose down attitude. The cabin floor was oriented about 45 degrees to the right. Numerous broken tree limbs were observed about 50 feet above the impact site. The empennage was separated from the main fuselage about the forward attach point of the vertical stabilizer, and was located about 20 feet north of the main impact site. An examination of the engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall while maneuvering, and a collision with trees and terrain during an uncontrolled descent.

Full narrative available

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