NTSB Identification: WPR12CA025
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 30, 2011 in Florence, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N7276G
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After a series of takeoffs and landings at several nearby airports, the pilot was returning to his home airport and descended to a low level to follow a river. The pilot reported that the conditions were turbulent for most of the day but that, during that low-altitude leg, the airplane seemed to perform abnormally. While still airborne, a passenger observed that the brake line that was attached to the right main landing gear strut was severed. As a result, the pilot conducted a precautionary landing at a nearby airport. The pilot and passengers observed multiple damage sites on the airplane but, since no one was present at that airport, they reboarded and departed for the home airport where they landed uneventfully.

A postaccident investigation revealed that the airplane struck and severed one of several electrical power lines that spanned the river. The wire height at mid river was about 30 to 40 feet above the water. The propeller, cowling, exhaust stack, right wing (multiple places), right wing strut, right main gear brake line, right landing gear wheel fairing, right fuselage, and vertical stabilizer were damaged by the wire strike, and the rear window was punctured. The pilot stated that he did not see any wires and that he was not aware of the wire strike until he examined the airplane after the precautionary landing. Neither the pilot nor the passengers incurred any injuries.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a power line during a low-level flight along a river. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to fly at a low altitude.

Full narrative available

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