Sunday, November 01, 2020

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N124TW: Fatal accident occurred October 30, 2020 near Billings Logan International Airport (KBIL), Montanta

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.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Textron Lycoming; Denver, Colorado

Location: Billings, MT 
Accident Number: WPR21LA032
Date & Time: October 30, 2020, 19:05 Local
Registration: N124TW
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 30, 2020 about 1905 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172M airplane, N124TW, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Billings, Montana. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 cross-country flight.

According to air traffic control, the pilot reported wind shear and turbulence and had difficulties in continuing its flight at night with strong headwinds. The pilot also reported that he was not able to climb to an altitude to safely navigate mountainous terrain and needed to divert to Billings Logan International Airport (BIL), Billings, Montana. The pilot turned right and continued his flight to BIL where he was instructed to land on runway 28R. As the pilot was approaching BIL he was asked by the tower controller if he would like runway 25, because it was more aligned with the winds, to which the pilot agreed. As the pilot was approaching the airport, he advised, “I’m having trouble making out the airport from the rest of the flashing lights.” The controller gave the pilot a position report and the pilot reported that he thought he had the airport in sight. The controller advised the pilot to maneuver as necessary and to maintain an altitude of 4,500 ft mean sea level (msl) or higher. After some maneuvering the pilot reported that he did not have the runway in sight. The controller then requested that he pass over the top of the airport and the pilot replied he had the runway in sight. The pilot reported that he needed to maneuver to lineup with the runway to which the controller issued wind and cleared the pilot to land on runway 25 with additional instructions not to descend below 4,000 ft msl. As the pilot was lined up for runway 25, the controller advised the pilot the runway elevation was at 3,600 ft msl and that he could descend at any time. The controller also advised the pilot that the runway had Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights, to which the pilot reported that he had them in sight. The controller lost sight of the airplane and lost all communication with the pilot. 

The airplane impacted trees and level terrain east of the airport, about 3/4-mile on runway 25 centerline. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the debris field.

The flight originated in Dallas, Texas with multiple intermediate stops along the way. The accident leg initiated form Sheridan, WY, and the pilot’s planned destination was Three Forks, MT.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N124TW
Model/Series: 172M 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: BIL,3662 ft msl 
Observation Time: 19:17 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C /-2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 9000 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling: 
None Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.6 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Sheridan, WY (KSHR)
Destination: Billings, MT

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 45.812369,-108.52004 (est)
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

BILLINGS, Montana - A 74-year-old Texas man and his dog were killed in the crash of a Cessna 172M Skyhawk near the Billings airport in southern Montana.

The Yellowstone County coroner’s office has identified the victim as Donald C. Nimmick.

Flight records show Nimmick left Lakeview, Texas Friday morning and made stops in Torrington and Buffalo in Wyoming, before leaving for Billings.

The plane crashed short of the runway at Billings Logan International Airport just after 7 p.m. Friday.

Searchers located the downed plane in a forested area at about 8:45 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

The man who was found dead Friday after the airplane he was piloting crashed near the Billings Logan International Airport has been identified by the Yellowstone County Coroner's Office.

Donald C. Nimmick, 74, died after a Cessna 172M Skyhawk he was flying crashed Friday. The crash was first reported by air traffic control at 7:05 p.m.

Nimmick was from Oak Point, Texas, a city about 40 miles north of Dallas. He had flown from Texas to Montana to visit his brother in Three Forks, according to Yellowstone County Coroner Cliff Mahoney.

Nimmick died as a result of blunt force trauma injuries, according to the coroner.

An autopsy was ongoing Monday. The findings of that autopsy could indicate if any medical conditions played a role in Nimmick's death.

The plane crash Friday also killed a dog. First responders found the crash site at about 8:45 p.m. in a forested area off Rimtop Drive north of Airport Road.

Based on preliminary information, the Federal Aviation Administration described the crash site as a ravine about one mile short of the runway at the Billings airport.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the crash. The NTSB will lead the investigation and determine the probable cause of the accident.


  1. According to Yellowstone County Coroner Cliff Mahoney, one man died in the crash. The 74 Year old Pilot, was from Oak Point TX. The flight originated from Lakeview airport (30F) Lake Dallas, TX. His planned destination was Three Forks, MT.(9S5)

    It appears that the pilots medical expired 01/2019

    FAA Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 1/2018
    Basic Med Course Date: 11/26/2018 Basic Med CMEC Date: 11/22/18

    Link to the Billings tower. (Starts right at 0100Z)

    1. Yes, but his BasicMed is current. So he was flying perfectly legally under BasicMed.

  2. His track on FlightAware looks like he was trying to make it to Three Forks and turned to go to Billings near Columbus.


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