NTSB Identification: SEA04LA168.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, August 18, 2004 in Angela, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 150L, registration: N17062
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
A witness observed the airplane appear over a rise in the terrain from the west flying in an easterly direction. The airplane circled twice at less than 1,000 feet above the ground before heading west in a slight descent and impacting the ground at a high rate of speed. The pilot had a history of alcohol abuse beginning at the age of 16, as well as a history of driving intoxicated while under the influence of alcohol. He received inpatient treatment for "alcohol dependence" in 1993 and was noted to be "high risk for relapse" in documentation provided to the FAA. The pilot's first application for a 3rd Class Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate in 1995 was denied. The pilot subsequently obtained a valid medical certificate in 1997, but was cautioned by the FAA that any further alcohol related offenses, or evidence of alcohol abuse could require re-evaluation of his medical certification. Additional documentation submitted to the FAA from 1995 through 1999 indicated that the pilot was completely abstinent from alcohol following impatient treatment in 1993. However, information submitted to the FAA in 2000 noted that the pilot was drinking 'about a six pack of beer per week' and had 'elevated liver enzymes.' No additional evaluation was requested by the FAA following the receipt of that information. Toxicological specimens from the pilot revealed 263 mg/dL (0.263%) ethanol in blood, 275 mg/dL (0.275%) in urine, 235 mg/dL (0.235%) in vitreous, and 190 mg/dL (0.190%) in brain. Examination of the airframe and engine, and their logbooks, did not reveal any pre-existing anomalies that would have prevented normal operations.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of the pilot to maintain clearance while maneuvering. A factor contributing to the accident was the physical impairment of the pilot due to an elevated blood alcohol level.
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