Saturday, January 05, 2019

Cessna 180 Skywagon, N4934A: Accident occurred January 02, 2019 in Townsend, Montana

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Townsend, MT
Accident Number: WPR19LA055
Date & Time: 01/02/2019, 1650 MST
Registration: N4934A
Aircraft: Cessna 180
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 2, 2019, about 1650 mountain standard time, a Cessna 180 airplane, N4934A, impacted powerlines and terrain while maneuvering at low altitude near the Missouri River about 2 miles south of Townsend, Montana. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a Kestrel Leasing, LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), Montana at about 1535.

There were multiple witnesses who saw and/or heard the airplane flying at low altitude before the accident. One witness reported that the airplane was flying at a low-level in a westerly direction over the holding ponds located about 2 1/2 miles west of 8U8, then make a sharp left turn over the river heading southbound. The witness estimated that the airplane was about 15-20 ft above the river's water level. The airplane was so low that he lost sight of it as it was lower than the river bank. He further stated that although the airplane was low, it appeared to be in control with no smoke and no indication that he was in any trouble. Other witnesses, a pilot and his wife, heard the airplane's engine "straining" and saw the airplane flying at the airport [8U8] in a nose up, high angle of attack. The airplane was flying north and appeared to level off at about 200 to 300 ft above ground level (agl). This witness's wife also stated that she heard the pitch sound of the engine change, and that it sounded different than other airplanes.

According to local law enforcement, initial reports state that powerlines crossing the river were broken and that an airplane had crashed. About a 1/4 mile north west of the accident site, a set of wires span across the river in a southwest to northeast direction. The utility company that supplies electricity to the area, stated that an electrical outage was reported about 1650.

First responder photos show the airplane at the accident site in a grassy snow-covered field near a barbed wire fence. A broken tree limb and ground scars indicated that the airplane was flying eastward before impacting a tree and the ground. The airplane came to rest upright and the landing gear separated. The wings are buckled and partially separated near the fuselage. The forward fuselage and cabin area were crushed and distorted. The rear fuselage was buckled near the empennage. The empennage was missing the rudder and about 12 inches of the upper vertical stabilizer.

Astronomical data obtained from the United States Naval Observatory for the accident site on the day of the accident indicated that sunset was at 1651, the end of civil twilight was at 1726, and moonset was at 1442.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4934A
Model/Series: 180 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Caleb Arnold
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HLN
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C / -7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 90°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bozeman, MT (BZN)
Destination: Bozeman, MT (BZN) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 46.289167, -111.519444 (est)

The two occupants of a plane that crashed near Townsend are in critical condition.

Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan reported the passengers sustained life-threatening injuries.

The plane crashed into a creek bank about two miles south of Townsend between the Missouri River and Highway 287, according to Meehan.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene after 6 p.m.

At the time, both occupants in the plane were conscious and speaking to authorities. They were taken to the hospital by helicopter.

Meehan said earlier he was waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration before taking further action.

NorthWestern Energy also reported an outage in the area affecting about 135 customers.

The names of those involved have not yet been released.

(1st Report, 7:05 p.m.) Broadwater County Sheriff Wynn Meehan said a small plane crashed into a creek bank about two miles south of Townsend between the Missouri River and Highway 287.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived shortly after 6 p.m.

Two occupants were in the plane and both were conscious and speaking to authorities. Meehan said they sustained serious injuries, but they are not life-threatening.

The occupants were taken by medical helicopter.

Meehan is waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration before taking further action.

NorthWestern Energy has reported a confirmed outage in the area affecting about 135 customers.

Original article can be found here ➤

HELENA – Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office deputies continued to interview witnesses Thursday as they investigated a small plane crash that left two men critically injured Wednesday.

Sheriff Wynn Meehan said both men were from Gallatin County and in their mid-30s. One of the men was flown to Helena, then transferred to a hospital in Salt Lake City for treatment. The other was taken to Great Falls. Meehan did not have an update on their conditions.

Meehan said the plane took off from Belgrade around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, then landed briefly at an airstrip near Townsend before taking off again. It hit power lines and crashed near the Hahn Ranch, about two miles south of Townsend. Northwestern Energy crews reported finding the plane while looking for the cause of a power outage.

Meehan said the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website, the plane, a Cessna 180, was registered to Kestrel Leasing LLC, a company in Belgrade.

Original article can be found here ➤

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