NTSB Identification: ANC05FA121.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 05, 2005 in Denali Park, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Beech V35B, registration: N912DB
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 private pilot was operating his airplane under Title 14, CFR Part 91 as a personal cross-country flight. He was participating in a group flight-seeing trip touring Alaska, that departed the state of Washington several days earlier. Each of the group's ten participants had provided their own airplanes for the tour. Prior to the accident flight, the group had been briefed by the group leader, an experienced commercial pilot with significant Alaska mountain flight experience, on the suggested route and altitudes through mountainous terrain to a rendezvous at another airport. An FAA inspector also made a presentation to the group that morning on some of the hazards associated with flying in the mountains. The group departed in small groups at close intervals. The accident pilot and two other pilots elected to initially fly a course parallel to the one suggested, up a different drainage/canyon. The intent was to join the suggested route later in the flight. A pilot flying above and behind the accident airplane noted that there was steeply rising terrain at the end on the canyon, and he started his climb before the accident pilot to clear a saddle between two peaks. He stated that the accident pilot, who was about 700-1000 feet lower than him, started his climb too late, and collided with a rock face, about 300 feet below the 5,000 feet msl saddle. The airplane was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire. Inspection of the airplane disclosed signatures on the propeller and associated components consistent with a high power setting at impact. The pilot flying behind the accident pilot stated that there were no distress calls from the pilot prior to impact, and that the weather was not a factor in the accident. Other pilots flying in the vicinity noted that the wind was either calm or light, with no associated turbulence, with ample clearance between the ridges and the higher cloud layers.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance from mountainous terrain while climbing, and his improper in-flight decision making by electing to fly at a low altitude toward rising terrain. A factor associated with the accident was mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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