NTSB Identification: WPR11LA137
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 14, 2011 in Soda Springs, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2011
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 8GCBC, registration: N885AC
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that while flying in a valley at an altitude between 200 to 300 feet above ground level (agl), he obtained visual contact with a set of high tension power lines that were perpendicular to his location. He determined that the airplane was at a high enough altitude to maintain clearance from the wires and initiated a slight climb to gain extra clearance. Shortly thereafter, the airplane struck the high tension power lines and subsequently impacted a snow covered field, which resulted in structural damage to the airframe. Recorded data retrieved from a handheld GPS (global positioning system) revealed that during the last eight minutes of the accident flight, the altitude of the airplane varied between 18 and 384 feet agl. The last recorded data point prior to the power lines showed the airplane at an altitude of about 137 feet agl. Representatives from the electrical company reported that the airplane struck one of the three static wires that were dull gray in color, located about 81 feet above the ground. The representative stated that the static wires were about 26 feet above a set of three main transmission lines that are shiny in color. The representative added that company employees reported that they had difficulty seeing the top static wires in lighting conditions similar to the day of the accident.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from power lines while maneuvering at a low altitude in a valley.

Full narrative available

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