Sunday, January 12, 2020

Aerodynamic Stall/Spin: Aviat Husky A-1A, N137C; accident occurred July 17, 2019 in Ennis, Madison County, Montana

View of thermal damaged airplane.
Federal Aviation Administration 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ennis, MT
Accident Number: GAA19CA432
Date & Time: 07/17/2019, 0828 MDT
Registration: N137C
Aircraft: Aviat A1
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

The pilot of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that he was contracted for an aerial survey to spot bears. After spotting bears, he flew multiple low altitude passes to maintain sight of the bears. While maneuvering uphill at a low altitude, his attention was "drawn into the visual of the bear and cubs" and away from the terrain. When he regained focus, he decided to turn the airplane to the right, away from rising terrain, but about 90┬║ into the turn, the airplane descended, impacted the terrain, and a post-crash fire ensued.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

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

The pilot added that he should have let the observer examine the bears during the low passes. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Glider; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/24/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/04/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 18000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 500 hours (Total, this make and model), 17500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 120 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aviat
Registration: N137C
Model/Series: A1 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1999
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1453
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/20/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1890 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3525 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-AIP
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As: Northern Wings Aviation LLC
Operator Designator Code: 5NWA 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRXE, 4862 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 37 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 199°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Bozeman, MT (BZN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Bozeman, MT (BZN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0600 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 44.421667, -111.528611 (est)

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