NTSB Identification: WPR09FA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in Townsend, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 180F, registration: N2698Y
Injuries: 1 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 pilot was on a cross-country flight during daytime visual meteorological conditions. A witness near the accident site reported observing a high-wing airplane similar to the accident airplane flying about 20 to 30 feet above the ground at a high rate of speed. The witness stated that the airplane was low enough to startle a herd of elk near the airplane's flight path. The witness continued watching the airplane as it pitched up and to the left, making a 180-degree turn steep enough to allow him to see the tops of both wings. There were no known witnesses to the accident sequence. The wreckage was located near the base of a mountain range about 2 days later, after being the subject of a missing airplane alert notice. Accident site documentation of the ground scars, contact evidence on the trees, and impact damage to the airplane were indicative of a high-speed controlled flight collision with trees and, subsequently, the ground. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from trees and terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude. Full narrative available
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