NTSB Identification: WPR10FA330
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 27, 2010 in Dixon, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-180, registration: N7581J
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 airplane departed with the pilot and three passengers for a sightseeing flight. Recorded radar data showed that the airplane departed the airport, proceeded north over a national forest, and then traveled south. The last radar return indicated that the airplane was at an altitude about 300 feet above ground level and 2,800 feet mean sea level (msl), following a river. Witnesses reported seeing a blue and white single-engine airplane matching the paint scheme of the accident airplane flying low over the river about the same time as the last radar return. The wreckage was located 4.5 miles south of the river at an elevation of 4,600 feet msl in mountainous terrain. The accident scene was confined to the immediate vicinity of the wreckage, and had been subjected to a localized ground fire. The confined configuration of the wreckage was consistent with a vertical descent and ground impact. Examination of the airframe and engine found no preimpact malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology revealed that an inactive metabolite of marijuana was detected in specimens from the pilot. No blood was available for testing and the findings indicate only that the pilot likely used marijuana in the days or weeks preceding the accident.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and aircraft control while maneuvering, resulting in an aerodynamic stall and collision with mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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