NTSB Identification: WPR13FA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 24, 2013 in Helena, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/20/2014
Aircraft: BEECH J35, registration: N8255D
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.

A family member reported that the purpose of the flight was for the pilot to practice, as he had not flown in about a month. Three witnesses provided statements during the investigation. According to the first witness, he observed two airplanes heading north; the second airplane was lower but was climbing and was much faster than the first airplane. As the second airplane was closing in on the first airplane from below, the witness stated that it suddenly made what looked like an evasive maneuver. A second witness reported that he first heard the airplane when its engine suddenly “changed pitch and sped up.” He then looked up and saw a single-engine, low-wing airplane in a nose-down attitude slowly spinning. He also stated that there were no other airplanes in the area at the time of the accident. A third witness reported that he heard “the props of a small plane struggling,” and that he thought he heard a “bang” on impact. The witness stated that he could not say if there was another airplane in the area just before the accident. Personnel located at the local non-radar-equipped control tower reported that there was no indication of another airplane in the vicinity of the accident airplane just before the accident. Postaccident on-site examination of the wreckage revealed that the accident airplane impacted relatively flat, desert-like terrain in a steep, nose-down, left-wing-low attitude, which was consistent with a stall/spin sequence. All flight controls and components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site, and control continuity was established. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Thus, it is likely that the pilot did not maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin and subsequent impact with terrain.

Full narrative available

Index for Jun2013 | Index of months