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On July 12, 2000, approximately 2040 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 150E, N6196T, impacted a tree while making a low pass over Rock Creek Girls Camp, which is located about six miles northeast of Ashton, Idaho. The individual flying the aircraft, who did not have a current FAA pilot certificate, received fatal injuries, as did both of his passengers. The aircraft, which was owned and operated by the individual flying it, was destroyed. The CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, which is believed to have departed Stanford Field, Saint Anthony, Idaho, about 15 minutes earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed, and there was no report of an ELT activation.
The aircraft, containing the non-certified "pilot" and the younger two of his three daughters, was first noticed by individuals gathered at the camp about three to four minutes prior to the crash. At that time, it was about one-half mile south of the camp, flying wings-level on a northerly heading up the Rock Creek drainage. Witnesses reported that the aircraft was flying "very low over the trees," and that as it passed over the camp, it came "very close" to the top of the trees located just south of the camp. After passing over the center of the camp, the aircraft turned about 45 degrees to the right and climbed slightly to clear a ridge located about one-half mile north of where the campers where gathered. The aircraft then turned left about 225 degrees and flew back over the camp on a heading that was approximately 180 degrees opposite of the first pass. As the aircraft approached the camp for the second pass, it descended to an altitude that was equal to or lower than that of the first pass. As it passed over the open grassy area near the center of the camp, someone in the aircraft dropped a note attached to a large dog treat to one of the campers below. It was later determined that the note was a message for the "pilot's" oldest daughter, who was part of the gathering in the grassy area. Although one witness thought the airplane might have made a slight turn or started to climb after the note was dropped, most of the witnesses said that they heard the aircraft's engine accelerate, but that it continued flying straight and level until it struck an 80-foot tall tree that was located about 280 feet past the gathering of campers. The inboard portion of the aircraft's left wing struck the coniferous tree about 10 feet from its top. After hitting the tree, the aircraft spun or cartwheeled through the air until impacting the surface of a dirt/gravel road 368 feet beyond the tree. After impacting the ground, the aircraft burst into flames and slid approximately 122 feet before coming to rest in a flat grassy meadow.
The individual who was piloting the aircraft did not have a valid FAA airman's certificate at the time of the accident. He had been issued a third class medical and student pilot certificate number EE1116593 on September 1, 1995. The medical was valid through September 30, 1997, and was not renewed. A review of that medical revealed that although the individuals uncorrected sight in his right eye was 20/20 for distant/near vision, the uncorrected sight in his left eye was listed as 000/499 for distant/near vision. In addition, the medical listed the corrected vision in his left eye as 000/499.
The Pathology Codes and Descriptions section of the medical indicated a medical deficiency code of 2162. The coding description section identified this code as "Eye: Absence of; Blindness of either eye; Enucleation."
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage track ran on a magnetic heading of 180 degrees for a distance of 550 feet past the point where the aircraft collided with the tree (see attached diagram). The widest portion of the sheared trunk from the top of the tree was three and one-eighth inches in diameter. The left horizontal stabilizer was found on the centerline of the track approximately 51 feet past the initial impact point. The left elevator came to rest about 172 feet down-track and approximately 55 feet right of centerline. The right wing tip was located about 300 feet down-track and 10 feet to the right. The first ground impact scars were located near the center of a gravel road that crossed the impact track approximately 368 feet from the impacted tree. The propeller and nose gear strut were both found on the track centerline, 440 feet and 460 down-track respectively. The main wreckage came to rest about 490 feet past the point where it initially collided with the tree. The only components found past the main wreckage were the nose wheel and the aircraft battery, both of which were located 550 feet down-track and 30 feet to the right.
The aircraft's fuselage, from the firewall to an area just forward of the empennage, had been consumed by fire. Both wings were present at the main wreckage, and both had their respective lift struts still attached to their wings spar attach fitting. The right wing lift strut-to-fuselage attach fitting was still attached to the fuselage, but the left wing strut-to-fuselage fitting had been pulled from the fuselage structure and was attached to the bottom end of the lift strut. Although the right wing showed only relatively minor damage along the top of the outboard portion of the leading edge, the inboard portion of the left wing, from the lift strut attach fitting to its root, was twisted, torn open, and displayed direct rearward crushing. The inboard portion of the left wing also suffered some degree of fire damage. The fuel tank in each wing had been breached and each was empty of fuel. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator, as well as the vertical stabilizer and rudder were present at the main wreckage. The right horizontal stabilizer had separated from the tail cone, but was still attached to its respective elevator. The vertical stabilizer had separated from the aft end of the fuselage, but was still indirectly connected to the tail cone by way of the rudder, which was still attached to the rudder control cables. Control continuity was established from the elevator push-pull tube to the elevator bellcrank. Continuity was established from the control yoke to both aileron bellcranks. Continuity was also established in the rudder control cables from the cabin area to the rudder bellcrank. Although the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator had been torn from the tail cone, continuity was established to the elevator trim tab, which was still attached to trim cables. The elevator trim tab moved freely when pressure was applied by hand. The wing flaps were found in the up position. The ELT was destroyed by the fire.
Both propeller blades exhibited massive amounts of leading edge indentations and gouging, and both showed a substantial amount of chordwise scaring. Both blades displayed longitudinal twisting, and both exhibited span-wises S-curving. The crankshaft flange, which was still bolted to the propeller, had separated from the end of the crankshaft. The right magneto produced spark when rotated by hand, but the left magneto was destroyed by the fire. There was no indication of a lack of proper engine lubrication, and the spark plugs displayed the normal amount and color of soot buildup on their electrodes.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On July 13, 2000, a postmortem examination was completed on the pilot at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. The cause of death was determined to be accidental, and was associated with blunt trauma secondary to deceleration injuries sustained in the crash of the aircraft.
Samples taken from the pilot were subjected to a forensic toxicology examination by the Federal Aviation Administration's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. Results from this examination detected no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, nor legal or illegal drugs in the blood of the pilot.
ADDITIONAL DATA AND INFORMATION
At the request of the NTSB, at 2040 on the day after the accident, the lighting conditions in and around the accident sight were observed and recorded by two of the original witnesses. According to those individuals, the ambient lighting and weather conditions on that day were nearly identical to those on the day of the accident. They reported that by 2040, the sun had already set behind the ridge located west-southwest of the camp. According to these individuals, the sun was still shining on the trees growing on top of the hills situated to the east, north, and west of the camp property. They said that there was a fairly bright golden glow along the tops of the aforementioned ridges. Reportedly, the individual trees near the top of the ridges were easily distinguishable in the light of the setting sun. In contrast, they noted that the valley in which the camp was situated, including the entire structure of the tree that was impacted by the aircraft, was in the shadow created by the ridge to the west of the camp. According to these witnesses, the individual trees in the shaded area below the glowing ridges were much harder to make out. In addition, they noted that when looking to the west or southwest, toward the setting sun, the areas in the shadows appeared as one homogenous gray mass, with the individual trees extremely hard to discern.
During the on-scene portion of the investigation, the aircraft remained in the custody of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. Representatives of the Sheriff's Office remained at the wreckage from the time of their initial response to the accident until after the NTSB Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) had departed.