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On August 18, 2004, about 2000 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N17062, was destroyed while maneuvering near Angela, Montana. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from a private airstrip near Angela at an undetermined time.
It was reported by a witness who was driving westbound on a county road that "an airplane appeared out of nowhere" coming over the rise from the west. The witness stated that he wasn't able to actually tell how high the airplane was, but estimated that it was probably less than 1,000 feet above the ground. The witness reported that as the airplane continued to the east it passed off to his left, and he could see the pilot was waving at him. The witness stated the airplane continued toward the east then changed directions back toward the west, which now paralleled the direction in which he was driving. He said after the airplane was still below 1,000 feet and that after it got ahead of him the pilot made a left turn at a lower altitude. The witness reported the airplane then circled around him and was again heading west when it descended too low and hit the ground, at what appeared to be at a high rate of speed. The witness stated that as far as he could tell the engine was running fine until it impacted the ground.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land rating. He held a third class medical certificate, with the limitation "Must wear corrective lenses. Not valid for any class after November 30, 2004." According to the pilot's most recent FAA medical application dated December 9, 2003, the pilot had accumulated a total of 400 flight hours, with 10 hours flown in the preceding 6 months. The pilot's most recent biennial flight review was completed on July 29, 2001.
At 1953, the Automated Surface Observing System weather reporting facility located at the Frank Wiley Field (MLS), Miles City, Montana, approximately 30 nautical miles southeast of the accident site, reported wind 330 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 17 degrees C, dew point minus 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
According to information provided by local law enforcement personnel, the wreckage came to rest on a westerly heading at 46 degrees 46.445 minutes north latitude, 106 degrees 09.667 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of 2,984 feet above sea level, and 3 1/2 nautical miles northeast of Angela, Montana.
Two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors traveled to the accident site. The inspectors reported that the airplane was destroyed and estimated the impact angle was between 45 degrees and 60 degrees. The inspectors' initial observations revealed that one propeller blade was bent completely aft 90 degrees, the empennage was separated from the cabin at the rear cabin bulkhead, and that both wings were partially separated from the fuselage. The inspectors confirmed flight control continuity and that fuel was present in both fuel tanks. There was no post accident fire.
In a report furnished to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), a certificated airframe and power plant mechanic reported that the engine turned freely, compression was confirmed, and the magnetos fired on impulse. The mechanic reported that both propeller blades were bent back and away from the torque of the engine, and that fuel was present after the accident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was conducted by the Yellowstone Pathology Institute, Inc., Billings, Montana on August 19, 2004. The pilot's cause of death was reported as "blunt traumatic injuries."
Medical records obtained on the pilot document a history of alcohol abuse beginning at the age of 16, as well as a history involving driving intoxicated while under the influence of alcohol. The pilot's first application for a 3rd Class Airman Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate, dated September 6, 1995, was denied by the FAA on October 6, 1995. The application indicated "yes" for "alcohol dependence or abuse," and for "History of any conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol..." Under "explanation" is noted "DUI Feb 1977." The pilot subsequently made an application for a 3rd Class Airman Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate on September 19, 1996, which was approved by the FAA on January 9, 1997. The approval letter stated "... you are cautioned that further alcohol related offenses, or evidence of alcohol abuse may require re-evaluation of your medical certification." Two additional applications made by the pilot for a 3rd Class Airman Medical Certificate, date July 27, 1998 and November 16, 1999, were followed by letters to the pilot by the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division dated September 2, 1998, and May 25, 2000 respectively, indicating that "...medical evidence reveals a history of myocardial infarction and coronary artery disease that has required treatment. You are ineligible for third-class medical certification. ... However, based on the complete review of the available medical evidence, I have determined that you may be granted authorization for special issuance ..." Neither letter mentioned a history of alcohol abuse. Additionally, four letters from the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division to the pilot, dated March 9, 1998, December 6, 2000, February 6, 2002, and November 18, 2003, indicate that the pilot was ineligible for third-class medical certification. However, after a complete review of the available medical evidence, it was determined that the pilot might be granted authorization for special issuance. There was no mention of alcohol abuse in any one of the four letters. The pilot's most recent application for a 3rd Class Airman Medical Certificate indicates "yes" for "heart or vascular trouble" and for "alcohol dependence or abuse." The application indicates "No" for "Do you currently use any medication" and "No" for "History of any conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol ..." Under "explanation" is noted "previously reported no change." Information submitted to the FAA regarding the pilot's inpatient treatment in 1993, indicated a diagnosis of "Alcohol Dependence" and noted that the pilot was "a high risk for relapse." Additional information submitted to the FAA from 1995 through 1999 indicated that the pilot was completely abstinent from alcohol following inpatient treatment in 1993, and in 2000 information submitted to the FAA noted that the pilot was drinking "about a six pack of beer per week" and had "elevated liver enzymes." No additional evaluation regarding alcohol use was requested by the FAA. Additional information regarding the pilot's FAA medical records can be found in the attached NTSB Medical Officers Medical Records Information.
Toxicology samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis. The report indicated the following results:
No carbon monoxide detected in the Blood
263 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Blood
275 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine
235 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Vitreous
190 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Brain
Doxylamine present in Urine
Pseudoephedrine detected in Urine
Doxylamine is a sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, often used in sleep aids.
Pseudoephedrine is a common decongestant with a trade name Sudafed.
The airplane was released to the owner's representative on August 23, 2004.