On November 13, 1999, approximately 1315 mountain standard time, a Cessna 175, N7164M, was substantially damaged during a landing attempt at the Deadwood Dam Airstrip, a private-use airstrip located approximately 18 nautical miles northeast of Garden Valley, Idaho. The private pilot-in-command, flying from the aircraft's right front seat, and a pilot-rated passenger (who was the aircraft's registered owner) seated in the aircraft's left front seat were not injured in the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the 14 CFR 91 personal flight. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In written statements, the second pilot reported that while returning to the aircraft's home airport at Garden Valley, as the aircraft passed over the Deadwood Reservoir, "the decision was made to land [at Deadwood Dam Airstrip, at the southeast corner of the reservoir] due in part to the good weather conditions and the light fuel load"; and the first pilot reported that "everything looked perfect" as he added a little power on final approach to clear trees. The second pilot was "calling out the airspeed." After clearing the trees, the airplane began to settle, then entered a rapid sink rate. The airplane touched down hard on all three landing gear, separating the nose wheel, and bounced. The airplane continued for about 100 feet, and touched down on the main landing gear and again bounced. On the third touchdown, the airplane remained on the ground and the nose gear strut collapsed. The airplane skidded on its nose for about 50 feet and tipped up onto the left wingtip before coming to a stop.
The landing was made to the east. The pilot reported that the wind was from 180 degrees at eight to ten knots. While on the downwind leg, the pilot noted that the surface of the water behind the dam was rippling, while the rest of the surface was smooth. The dam is located southwest of the airstrip and the downwind leg is over the water. The pilot reported that 75 - 100 foot trees border the south side of the airstrip. On his NTSB accident report, the first pilot stated that he believed "...that after we cleared the trees we entered a wind sheer [sic] or down draft and being in close proximity to the ground we were unable to avoid a hard impact with the ground...."
According to AirNav.com, an Internet airport and navigational aid database which cites the FAA as its data source, the airstrip is 1,800 feet long, 50 feet wide, oriented northeast/southwest, and dirt-surface. The airstrip elevation is given as 5,489 feet. According to the AirNav.com entry for the airstrip, the airstrip, which is equipped with a wind indicator, has a high ridge at its east end, a 6% grade sloping down from east to west, and is one-way landing from west to east. The airstrip entry states that the field is maintained for government use only by the U.S. Forest Service, is recommended for emergency use only, and that only light planes, piloted by experienced pilots, should attempt to use the airstrip. The airstrip is also listed in the "Miscellaneous Airports" section of the Idaho Airport Facilities Directory, published by the Idaho Transportation Department's Bureau of Aeronautics. The "Miscellaneous Airports" section of this directory states in its introduction:
The majority of the...airports [listed in this section] are privately owned and have operating restrictions. Many of them have substandard dimensions and/or are located in mountainous terrain. Mountain pilot proficiency is often a prerequisite for use.
The information for these airports was solicited from the owners and has not been verified. Elevations, runway lengths and widths, locations, etc., may be estimates.
It is highly recommended that pilots contact the owner before using in order to obtain current airport conditions, operating procedures and restrictions.
The 1990 Idaho state airport/facilities directory entry for Deadwood Dam Airstrip contains the restriction "USE AT OWN RISK." The entry for the airstrip, which lists the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation at Cascade, Idaho as the airstrip owner, gives the runway length as 1,800 feet and the runway width as 300 feet. The entry states in its remarks section: "APPROACH IS FROM OUT OVER THE RESERVOIR. NORMALLY LANDING UPHILL AND TAKING OFF DOWNHILL. 5% GRADE TO THE EAST."
The first (right-seat) pilot reported a total flight time of 193 hours, with approximately 2 hours in the Cessna 175. Post-accident investigation disclosed that the first pilot had logged 9.7 hours and 17 landings (including 1.4 hours and 13 landings in the accident aircraft) in the 90 days preceding the accident; however, the first pilot reported that his most recent flight review was on April 13, 1996, 3 years and 7 months prior to the accident. The second pilot reported a total flight time of approximately 100 hours, with about 79 hours in the Cessna 175.
Damage to the aircraft was initially reported by the aircraft owner to the FAA as minor. The Boise FSDO subsequently reported to the NTSB on November 18, 1999, that the damage was substantial.