SEA97LA036
SEA97LA036

On December 5, 1996, approximately 1500 hours mountain standard time, a Piper PA-18-135, N62100, being flown by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a collision with terrain near Cohagen, Montana. The pilot and the only passenger received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed in the area and no flight plan had been filed. The flight had originated from a road on the pilot's ranch about 1430.

The purpose of the flight was to survey animals and possibly shoot coyotes. When the flight did not return, family members contacted local authorities who initiated a search for the airplane. The wreckage was located about 12 miles south of Cohagen, by a snowmobile, on December 12, 1996. The airplane was equipped with "tundra" tires.

The airplane wreckage was examined on December 13 by the FAA and representatives from the New Piper Aircraft Company and Textron Lycoming. The first evidence of ground impact was a ground scar with red glass at the scar. About 9 feet beyond this point was the propeller. The main wreckage was about 65 feet from the initial ground scar and was extensively burned. The engine was rotated and compression observed in the cylinders. The accessories were not checked due to fire damage. One propeller blade had an aft bend, chordwise abrasions and chordwise scratching. The other blade was relatively straight with only light damage. Control continuity was established for the flight controls. The flaps were retracted.

Actual gross weight of the aircraft was not determined. However, using estimated weights of 170 pounds for the pilot, 280 pounds for the passenger, 15 pounds for oil and 20 pounds for baggage, the airplane would have been about 4 pounds over gross without any fuel on board.

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