Friday, October 21, 2016

Cessna 172H Skyhawk, N1706F: Accident occurred October 20, 2016 near Sugarloaf Regional Airport (B21), Carrabassett, Franklin County, Maine

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

http://registry.faa.gov/N1706F

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA036
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 20, 2016 in Carrabassett, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N1706F
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, after departure, he flew south along a river for about 5 miles. He then turned east toward his destination airport and needed to climb over a mountain ridge. During the climb, the landing gear impacted the top of trees; subsequently, the airplane nosed down and impacted terrain. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. 

The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from trees while maneuvering at a low altitude.

The pilot reported that after departure he flew south along a river for about five miles. He then turned east toward his destination airport, but needed to climb over a mountain ridge. During the climb, the landing gear impacted the top of trees; subsequently, the airplane nosed down and impacted terrain.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. 

The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A Bethel pilot and his passenger were "very lucky" to survive when their airplane lost power and crashed into Poplar Mountain on Oct. 20, a Maine warden said Wednesday.

Pilot Karl Olson, 30, and Michael Orsini, 26, of Raymond took off from Sugarloaf Regional Airport in Carrabassett Valley in a single-engine Cessna C 172, which lost power and plunged propeller-first into trees on the south side of the mountain,  , Warden Dan Christianson said.

Neither Olson nor Orsini was hurt.

“They were lucky. That is for sure,” Christianson said. “It could have been a fatality.”

Christianson said Olson told him the plane lost power and he brought it down as slow as possible into the trees. It "landed on its propeller,” he said.

The trees were small enough that when the plane went into the first tree, it uprooted and basically bent over with the plane into other trees. There was no significant damage; no windows were broken, Christianson said.

Christianson said he received a report of an airplane crash at 2:53 p.m. Oct. 20. Dispatchers told him there were no injuries and no fluids leaking so rescue crews were not called out.

Christianson said he and some of Olson's friends bushwhacked their way from near Ira Mountain in Kingfield nearly three-quarters of a mile to the crash site, which was north of Kingfield and near the Somerset County border. Olson and Orsini had started walking out but Christianson told them to walk back to the plane.

Christianson led investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration to the site the next day.

Jim Peters, representative of FAA Public Affairs for the New England Region, said the plane was headed south for a few miles before turning east and crashing a short time later. He said the crash is classified as an aviation accident, based on the FAA's examination of the aircraft at the crash site. The FAA will continue to investigate on behalf of the National Transportation Safety Board, he wrote in an email. 

“(Olson and Orsini) were very lucky and certainly glad they had their safety harnesses on,” Christianson said.

The fixed wing plane was manufactured in 1966, according to FAA online records.

Attempts to reach Olson on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

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