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On August 12, 2000, approximately 2020 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N734UD, operated by Valley Fliers, Inc., of Bountiful, Utah, was destroyed when it collided with trees while climbing in mountainous terrain 14 miles east of Kamas, Utah. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and his passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the business flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Bountiful approximately 1930.
The following is based on an interview with the surviving passenger, conducted on August 14, at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He said he had been referred to the pilot by a friend, and that they had had several telephone conversations about flying around the local area to search for game. The passenger was a hunter, and he wanted to "learn the country and spot animals" before the hunting season started. It was agreed that he would pay the pilot $20 per hour, in addition to the airplane rental fee. He met the pilot for the first time at Bountiful Airpark on the evening of the accident approximately 1900. He was given a briefing before the flight. The pilot remarked he had never flown over the Kamas wilderness area.
The pilot performed a preflight check of the airplane, and said there was 20 to 24 gallons of fuel on board. They took off approximately 1930 and flew over Carleigh Canyon and Jordanelle Reservoir. The airplane performed normally. They were "not low" as they turned up a valley and started climbing up the rising terrain. Approaching the summit, the trees became closer and the pilot said, "We're going to brush trees." The airplane began scraping the tree tops. He thought he remembered power being added just before they collided with a large tree. He did not hear the stall warning horn. The airplane yawed, then nosed into the ground and rolled inverted.
The passenger said he was conscious throughout the accident sequence. He tried to call for help on the radio, but he was in too much pain. He unfastened his seatbelt and shoulder harness and crawled out the left side of the airplane. He tried to free the pilot but did not have sufficient strength. He walked 300 yards to a road (Upper Setting Road), then continued walking downhill for approximately 1 mile that took some 3 hours. About midnight, he came upon campers in a truck, who drove him to a camp where they notified authorities. Search and rescue personnel arrived on the scene approximately 0300 on August 13.
According to the Summit County Sheriff's Office, a camper located at a lower level near the entrance to the valley reported seeing an airplane fly up the valley at a low altitude shortly before the estimated time of the accident.
The accident occurred during the hours of dusk at the 9,205 foot level and at a location of 42 degrees, 39.05' north latitude, and 111 degrees, 7.21' west longitude.
The pilot, age 30, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine, land, and instrument ratings, dated July 25, 2000. His first class airman medical certificate, dated June 7, 2000, contained the restriction, "Must wear corrective lenses." His logbook was never located but according to his most recent application for medical certification, he estimated his total flight time to be 1,250 hours. Papers found in the wreckage indicated he had recently accomplished a biennial flight review on July 19, 2000.
According to a club spokesperson, the pilot was not a member of Valley Fliers, but he flew the club's leased Cessna 150 (with the permission of the airplane's owner). Valley Fliers had not given him permission to fly the Cessna 172, which was owned by one of the club's owners, nor had he received a club checkout in the airplane. The spokesperson stated that the pilot had taken the airplane without their permission.
N734UD, a model 172N (s/n 17269117), was manufactured by the Cessna Aircraft Company in 1977. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-H2AD engine, rated at 180 horsepower, and a McCauley 2-blade, all metal, fixed pitch propeller.
According to the maintenance records, the last annual and 100 hour inspections were completed on August 22, 1999, and May 24, 2000, at tachometer times of 4,221.1 and 4,331.2 hours, respectively. The engine was last overhauled on November 1, 1985, at a tachometer reading of 2,277.0 hours. At that time, the engine had accrued 2,176.6 total hours, and the propeller had accrued 1,016.4 hours since overhaul.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site disclosed the airplane struck several 80 foot trees on a magnetic heading of 035 degrees, and impacted rising mountainous terrain at the 9,205 foot level. The airplane was found inverted next to a large rock about 300 feet from the last tree strike. The fuselage was in two main pieces. It had separated between F.S. 205 and F.S. 228. The empennage was located 18 feet from the main wreckage. It was upright and wrapped around a tree. The remainder of the fuselage continued down the wreckage path for 18 feet and came to rest inverted with the inboard section of the right wing folded underneath. The bottom was coated with a film of oil, revealing streaks from tree contact and extending nearly the full length of the fuselage. The outboard section of the right wing, with aileron attached, was located 47 feet away. The cabin was compromised, and most of the windows had been knocked out.
Rudder, elevator, trim tabs and flap control cable continuity was established to the cockpit. Left aileron control cable continuity was established to the wing root; right aileron control continuity could not be verified. All separated cables bore frayed or "broomstraw" ends.
Fuel leaked from the overhead cabin lines. Clear fuel was also found in the fuel strainer and carburetor fuel line. Fuel was ejected from the carburetor when the throttle arm was moved. The single drive-dual magnetos sparked at all towers when rotated by hand. The vacuum pump drive, rotors, and vanes were intact. The pump rotated freely. Both magneto and vacuum pump drives rotated with propeller movement. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Both blades were gouged. One blade was bent forward 180 degrees; the other blade was fractured midspan. The outboard portion was never located. There were brown swirls around the propeller spinner.
Papers found in the wreckage indicated the airplane was checked out at a Hobbs meter reading of 01555.2. The Hobbs meter reading at the accident site was 01556.0, a 0.8 hour difference.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Utah Medical Examiner's Office. The cause of death was listed as "blunt force trauma." The passenger stated his injuries consisted of cuts, bruises, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung.
In addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, parties to the investigation included the Cessna Aircraft Company and Textron Lycoming Engines.
The wreckage was released to the insurance company on August 15, 2000.