Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cessna R172E, registered to the United States Air Force and operated by the Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) Aero Club under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, N7879N: Accident occurred March 23, 2019 near Northern Colorado Regional Airport (KFNL), Loveland, Larimer County, Colorado

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Loveland, CO
Accident Number: CEN19LA107
Date & Time: 03/23/2019, 1043 MDT
Registration: N7879N
Aircraft: Cessna R172E
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 23, 2019, at 1043 mountain daylight time, a Cessna R172E, N7879N, was destroyed when it struck a power line and impacted a dairy farm 1.5 miles northwest of runway 15 at Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL), Loveland, Colorado. The pilot sustained a serious injury and his two passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to the U.S. Air Force and operated by the Peterson Air Force Base (AFB) Aero Club, Peterson AFB, Colorado, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), and was en route to FNL.

Preliminary information indicates the military helicopter pilot was accumulating fixed-wing civilian flight time, and had brought along two passengers. While on base leg for runway 15, he encountered a downdraft. He attempted a go-around, but struck the power line and impacted terrain. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N7879N
Model/Series: R172E
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Peterson AFB Aero Club
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.451944, -105.011389 (est)

Three people were hospitalized after a small plane crashed south of Fort Collins on Saturday morning.

Larimer County Sheriff's Office and Loveland Fire Authority officials responded to the plane crash in the 2800 block of East County Road 30 about 10:43 a.m. Saturday.

The pilot and two passengers were taken by ambulance to the Medical Center of the Rockies with injuries authorities believe are not life-threatening, sheriff's office Lt. Jeff Vanhook said. 

"Looking at the damage to the plane, we feel very fortunate," Vanhook said. "We're hopeful they will have a full recovery."

Two people inside the plane were able to get out unassisted, and the third person got out with assistance from others at the scene before emergency responders arrived, Vanhook said. 

The plane was traveling southwest when it crashed, clipping a power line and damaging a power pole, Vanhook said. Poudre Valley REA, who responded to the scene, confirmed the power line was not live.

The plane also lost about half of a tank of fuel, causing the plane and nearby ground to catch fire immediately after the crash, Loveland Fire Authority Battalion Chief Tim Smith said. 

County Road 30 remained closed in that area Saturday afternoon. Sheriff's office Capt. Mike Loberg said there is no estimated time of the road reopening. The road will remain closed while crews fix the damaged power line and authorities wait for officials from the National Transportation Safety Board to remove the plane from the scene.

NTSB will conduct a joint investigation into the crash with the Federal Aviation Administration. Loberg said the sheriff's office will not release any additional information about the crash unless the investigation reveals criminal activity. 

Vanhook said they do not have any information about the cause of the crash, where the plane departed from or its destination. He added they are working with the FAA to see if they have any radio transmission from the plane prior to the crash that would help them better understand its cause.

Because the crash occurred off Northern Colorado Regional Airport property, it had no effect on airport operations, according to a tweet from the airport's account. 

Anyone with information regarding the crash who has not spoken with investigators is asked to call the Larimer County Sheriff's Office at 970-416-1985 or Crime Stoppers at 970-221-6868 where it's possible to remain anonymous. 

Story and video ➤

The three people aboard a single-engine plane survived when the aircraft crashed Saturday morning at a farm north of Loveland.

The plane hit power lines and possibly a tree as it came down about 10:40 a.m. next to a driveway of a dairy farm at the southwest corner of County Road 30 and County Road 9 (Boyd Lake Avenue), just northwest of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport.

Fuel leaking from the plane started a fire on the ground that Loveland Fire Rescue Authority crews were able to extinguish, according to fire battalion chief Tim Smith.

The three occupants were out of the plane, which was lying in pieces under and next to the tree, by the time emergency crews arrived, Smith said.

"Two of the passengers were able to get out of the aircraft without assistance, and one got out of the aircraft with the assistance of a passerby," said Larimer County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jeff Vanhook.

He said all three were taken to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland with injuries that appeared to be non-life-threatening. The names of the pilot and passengers have not been released.

"Looking at the damage to the plane, we feel very fortunate that -— we're hopeful that they will have a full recovery," Vanhook said.

"We believe the aircraft clipped a power line and one of the support lines," he said.

VanHook didn't know if the plane also hit the large tree under which some of the wreckage was lying, but the tree appeared to have torn bark and broken limbs on that side.

Next to the tree, just off County Road 30, a power pole had been sheared off about 6 feet off the ground. The top part of the pole was standing upright next to the stump, supported by the lines that remained intact.

The plane's wing lay under the tree, part of its nose section next to it, with the rest of the fuselage, upside-down, a little to the south.

After the ambulances left with the plane's occupants, a Poudre Valley REA crew worked on the power lines.

Smith said one of the concerns was the fire danger from the fuel that remained in the plane. He said the tanks were full when the plane crashed, and about half of the fuel remained onboard.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Mike Loberg said witnesses reported that the plane "looked like it was standing still. It was moving very slowly" before it hit.

The plane was traveling to the southwest when it crashed, Vanhook said.

Jason Licon, director of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, said he doesn't believe that the plane came from the airport, but wasn't sure.

He said the crash didn't affect operations at the airport.

Fort Collins resident Glenn Dawson, a private pilot, drove to the site after the crash to briefly watch the crews at work.

He said he was in the air at the same time as the plane that crashed, and he landed right before the accident. He didn't know about the crash until he went inside the airport, he said.

Dawson said he couldn't say much about the crash until he is interviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration, but he said he experienced downdrafts in the area when he was flying.

He said the plane that crashed was a high-wing Cessna.

Vanhook said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate the accident.

Original article can be found here ➤


  1. Based on the damage in the pics it's a miracle no one was killed, especially with a post-crash fire.

  2. CAP or AirForce trainer? Flight aware shows this plane flying a very often but no pattern work. More like commuting. Maybe they’re renting out airplanes making a few bucks on the side. Since it’s taxpayer money, you can’t help but wonder what they are doing. If you ask, your being nosy.