SEA02LA112
SEA02LA112

On June 26, 2002, approximately 0700 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182L, N42505, registered to Anderhawk Inc. of Stanwood, Washington, and being operated by a private pilot, was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire when it collided with trees and subsequently with terrain during a landing attempt at Donnelly, Idaho. The 14 CFR 91 flight was being operated as part of a mountain/canyon flying seminar conducted by McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars, LLC, of McCall, Idaho. Both occupants were able to escape the wreckage following the crash. The pilot, who was a paying participant in the seminar, was seriously burned in the crash, and a certificated flight instructor (CFI) being paid by McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars, who stated to an FAA investigator that his role was as an "observer" on the flight, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions, with calm winds, were reported at McCall at 0650. The flight initially took off from McCall at 0615.

The Donnelly airport (U84) has a single, north-south, 2,500-foot by 125-foot turf runway. The airport elevation is 4,860 feet. The U.S. Government Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) indicates that there are trees at both ends of the runway, and also that landing is recommended on runway 36 and takeoff is recommended on runway 18 when wind conditions permit. In interviews with an FAA investigator, the CFI stated that at the time of the accident, the pilot was practicing a "canyon approach" to the airport. According to the pilot, the instructor directed him to set up a descent rate of 600 to 700 feet per minute on final, which he did. On short final, the instructor directed him to add power in order to decrease the rate of descent for landing. According to the pilot he did as directed, but according to the CFI, the pilot did not add power. Both agree that the rate of descent was not reduced sufficiently, and that the aircraft hit hard and bounced back into the air. According to the pilot, once the aircraft was back in the air, he added full power and tried to push the nose down. During his attempt to get the aircraft back on the runway, it drifted off to the left side of the airstrip and collided with nearby trees. Immediately after the impact, a fire started near the forward part of the floorboards. Although both occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft, it was destroyed by the ensuing fire. Based on ambient conditions, the density altitude was determined to be approximately 6,000 feet.

When the FAA investigator asked the CFI why he had not briefed a "positive exchange of flight controls" procedure prior to the flight, the CFI answered that he was acting as an "observer" and not as a flight instructor. He stated that all seminar participants must sign a document indicating that they will be pilot-in-command (PIC). A copy of a "Statement of Understanding" on McCall Mountain/Canyon Flying Seminars company letterhead, furnished to the NTSB by the FAA's Boise Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), states that seminar flights are "not instructional in nature, but designed to share experience and knowledge in some unique flying opportunities." The "Statement of Understanding" specifies, among other provisions, that the seminar participant will always be the PIC and that "The instructor will never be considered as the PIC, but is there to give suggestions regarding specific techniques and procedures which will enhance safety and flying enjoyment." It also states, "At no time will the flight(s) violate any FAA regulations, state or local statutes or recognized safe aircraft operations", and gives either party the right to terminate the flight at any time.

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