Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cessna 170B, N3292A: Fatal accident occurred November 28, 2014 in Alzada, Carter County, Montana

Father Peter Kovarik 



The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Helena, Montana
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Inc.; Mobile, Alabama 

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/N3292A


Peter Kovarik is shown here flying above the Black Hills. Kovarik, the priest at the Lead and Deadwood Catholic churches died November 28th, 2014 when the plane he was piloting crashed north of Alzada, Montana.



NTSB Identification: WPR15FA049
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 28, 2014 in Alzada, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 170B, registration: N3292A
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot departed for a local area flight. When he did not return, a search was initiated, and the wreckage was located in a saddle between two mountain peaks. There were no identified witnesses to the accident. Onsite documentation revealed that the airplane collided with the terrain in a vertical nose-down attitude. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

According to a friend of the pilot, the pilot was very comfortable flying in the local area at altitudes of 150 ft above ground level or less. Given the pilot's preference for low altitude flight, it is likely that he was maneuvering around the mountainous terrain, lost control of the airplane, and did not have sufficient altitude to recover before ground impact.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control while maneuvering, which resulted in a collision with mountainous terrain. 




HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 28, 2014, at an undetermined time, a Cessna 170B, N3292A, impacted terrain near Alzada, Montana. The co-owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The local personal flight departed Spearfish, South Dakota, about 1200. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot became the subject of a family concern alert notice (ALNOT) on November 29, 2014, after the pilot failed to arrive at work. The accident site was located by the Civil Air Patrol on November 30, 2014, at about 1130 MST.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The 50-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land.

The pilot held a third-class medical certificate that was issued on May 27, 2014. It had no limitations or waivers.

An examination of the pilot's logbook indicated a total flight time of 1,580 hours. He logged 14 hours in the last 90 days, and 5 hours in the last 30 days. About 200 hours had been accumulated in the make and model airplane involved in the accident. A biennial flight review was accomplished on October 10, 2013.

A close friend of the accident pilot reported that the pilot was very conscious and that he had learned to fly from a former crop duster. He was very comfortable flying low level in the local area and anything above 150 feet was too high for him to be happy.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Cessna 170B, serial number 25936. The engine was a Continental Motors Model C-145, serial number 7515-D-2-2.

The airframe logbook(s) were not located. Examination of the only recovered maintenance records (Engine Logbook) indicated that the last annual/100-hour inspection had been complied with on September 2, 2013. Total time recorded on the engine at this time was unknown, and time since major overhaul was 1,727.9 hours.

No records were recovered which would indicate that the airplane had an annual inspection after the September 2013 date. 

Fueling records at Westjet Air Center, Rapid City, SD established that the airplane was last fueled on November 9, 2014, with the addition of 20 gallons of 100 Low Lead-octane aviation fuel.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Investigators examined the wreckage at the accident scene on December 2, 2014.

There were no identified witnesses to the accident, or the flight of the accident airplane.

The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was the ground crater with the main wreckage. The 50-foot debris path was along a magnetic heading of 130-degrees. The orientation of the fuselage was also 130-degrees. The wings were oriented 040/220-degrees.

The wreckage was located on the southeast side of a saddle between two peaks. The airplane was positioned in a near vertical nose down attitude with the tail section standing vertical. The aft fuselage exhibited no indications of rotation. The aft fuselage, from the aft doorpost to the empennage was observed accordion towards the nose of the airplane. The damage to both wings was consistent with the contour of the terrain. The right wing was observed accordion aft from the leading edge to just aft of the main spar and the wing root and from the leading edge to the aileron at the tip. The left wing was observed accordion aft from the leading edge to aft of the main spar at the wing root and from the leading edge to the aileron at the wing tip. The engine was only partly visible under the cockpit area. One propeller tip was observed under the engine. There was no fire. There was an odor of fuel near the left fuel tank.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The closest aviation weather observation station was Baker Municipal Airport, Baker, Montana (KBHK), which was 69 nautical miles north of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 2,980 feet mean sea level (msl). An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for KBHK was recorded at 1451 MST. It reported: wind from 230 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 10 degrees C; dew point -1 degrees C; altimeter 29.49 inches of mercury.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

No autopsy was performed on the pilot. The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot.

Analysis of the specimens contained no findings for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Investigators examined the wreckage at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on March 9, 2015. 

Examination of the engine revealed no abnormalities which would have precluded normal operation of the engine. The engine displayed impact damage consistent with the engine operating at the time of impact. 

Examination of the recovered airframe revealed no abnormalities which would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. The airframe sustained impact damage from a vertical descent with no rotational signatures. All control surfaces were accounted for and control continuity was established for the flight controls. 

The complete engine and airframe examination reports are attached to the docket for this accident.

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA049 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 28, 2014 in Alzada, MT
Aircraft: CESSNA 170B, registration: N3292A
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 28, 2014, at an unknown time, a single-engine Cessna 170B airplane, N3292A, impacted mountainous terrain near Alzada, Montana. The owner/private pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed from Black Hills Airport-Clyde Ice Field (SPF), Spearfish, South Dakota about 1200 MST.

A family concerned Alert Notification (ALNOT) was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on November 29, when the pilot did not show up for work. The airplane was found by the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol on November 30, 2014, at about 1130 MST, and the accident site was accessed by personnel from the Carter County Sheriff's Department on November 30.

The airplane came to rest on the east side of a saddle located between two peaks in a near vertical nose down attitude on a magnetic heading of 130 degrees. The accident site was located about 25 miles north of Alzada, at an elevation of about 4,000 feet. The entire airplane came to rest at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established on site.

The airplane was recovered on December 4, 2014, for further examination.

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