SEA01LA122B
SEA01LA122B

On June 26, 2001, approximately 1900 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA38-112, N9341T, registered to and operated by the private pilot collided in mid-air about nine miles north of Bozeman, Montana, with a Cessna 172M, N80830, registered to Manhattan Flying Tigers Inc. and flown by a flight instructor. Both aircraft were operating as personal flights under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flights which departed from Bozeman, about 30 minutes prior to the collision. The Piper was substantially damaged and the Cessna received minor damage. Neither the private pilot in the Piper nor the flight instructor and passenger in the Cessna were injured. After the collision, both aircraft landed at Gallatin Field, Bozeman, without further incident.

The pilot of the Piper reported that this was a flight of four aircraft (three PA38, and one Cessna) for the purpose of taking photos for a poster. The pilot stated that everyone met prior to takeoff for a briefing. The passenger in the Cessna was to take the photos. The pilot stated that the flight of aircraft were climbing to about 6,000 feet mean sea level to begin the formation. Two of the PA38's were a significant distance away and were still trying to maneuver closer. The Cessna was at about 6,200 feet and the accident PA38 was at about 6,000 feet and a little ahead and to the right of the Cessna. The pilot in the PA38 stated that he reduced power to slow down and maneuver below and to the left. As he was doing this, the aircraft encountered an updraft. The PA38 increased altitude and ascended up to the Cessna. The propeller of the Cessna made contact with the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator of the PA38 resulting in substantial damage. The pilot of the Cessna reported that she saw the PA38 ascend, but did not have time to avoid the collision. Both aircraft then returned to Bozeman and landed without further incident.

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