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Crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in Butte: 14 killed

Date & Time: Mar 22, 2009 at 1430 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N128CM
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Oroville-Bozeman
MSN:
0403
YOM:
2001
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
12
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
14
Circumstances:

While cruising over Montana, the crew informed ATC about technical problem and obtained permission to divert to Butte. On final approach, the single engine aircraft stalled and dived into the ground. The aircraft was located in a cemetary less than one mile short of runway and all 14 occupants (7 adults and 7 children) were killed. Investigations will check if the aircraft was configured to embark 12 passengers as this aircraft is normally certified for maximum 8 passengers.

Crash of a Beechcraft Super King Air 200 in Bozeman: 3 killed

Date & Time: Feb 6, 2007 at 2104 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N45MF
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Great Falls-Bozeman
MSN:
BB-0234
YOM:
1977
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
17608
Captain / Total hours on type:
1318.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5992
Circumstances:
The cross-country flight was on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, approximately 42 nautical miles from the tower-controlled destination airport, when the pilot was cleared for the visual approach. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and there was an overcast layer of clouds at 11,000 feet. After the en route radar service was terminated, the pilot contacted the local control tower and made a garbled and partially unintelligible transmission. Shortly after the time of the transmission, local law enforcement personnel received reports of a downed aircraft. The wreckage was located later that evening approximately 80 feet below the peak of a ridge that rose to an elevation of approximately 5,700 feet. From the initial point of contact with terrain, the debris path was scattered over the crest of the ridge and continued down the opposing side, in a south-southeast direction, toward the airport. The ridge was the highest obstruction between the accident location and the destination airport. The airport is located in a large valley and is surrounded by rising mountainous terrain. At night, clouds and terrain are difficult for pilots to see, and a gradual loss of visual cues can occur as flight is continued toward darker terrain. Additionally, the horizon is less visible and less distinct at night than during the day. Because the pilot was descending the airplane over rural, mountainous terrain that provided few visual ground reference cues, and because the overcast cloud layer would have prevented moonlight from illuminating the terrain, it is likely that the pilot did not see the rising terrain as the airplane continued toward it. The airplane was equipped with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System; however, impact damage to the unit precluded post accident testing. It is not known how the unit was configured during the flight or what type of alerts the pilot received prior to impact. Post accident examination of the wreckage, to include both engines, did not disclose evidence of a mechanical malfunction prior to impact. Additionally, no evidence was found to suggest an in-flight structural failure.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate altitude and descent rate during a night visual approach. Dark night conditions and mountainous terrain are factors in the accident.

Crash of a Cessna 425 Conquest in Bozeman: 1 killed

Date & Time: Nov 29, 2005 at 1742 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N701QR
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Algona-Bozeman
MSN:
425-0148
YOM:
1981
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1987
Captain / Total hours on type:
1675.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4504
Circumstances:

The pilot was sole on board of this twin engine aircraft built in 1981. He was flying from Algona (Iowa) to Bozeman for ski. On final approach, the aircraft disappeared from radar screen while flying over Horseshoe Hills, north of Manhattan, few miles from the airport. Aircraft's debris and the pilot's body were found a day later around 0800LT. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were as follow : -6° C. with light snow, fog, visibility around 4 km and 7 mph wind.

Crash of a Lockheed 14H Electra in Bridger Canyon: 10 killed

Date & Time: Jan 10, 1938 at 1507 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NC17388
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Seattle – Spokane – Butte – Billings – Chicago
MSN:
1407
YOM:
1937
Flight number:
NW002
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
10
Captain / Total flying hours:
10000
Circumstances:
While cruising at an altitude of 9,000 feet in good weather conditions, the twin engine aircraft went out of control and dove into the ground before crashing on a wooded hill located some 22 km northeast of Bozeman. All ten occupants were killed.
Crew:
Nick B. Mamer, pilot,
Frederick W. West, Jr., copilot.
Passengers:
T. Anderson,
I. E. Stevenson,
G. A. Anderson,
L. Levin,
Walter Ton,
A. Croonquist,
Douglas McKay,
W. E. Borgenheimer.
Probable cause:
It is the opinion of the Investigating Board that the probable cause of this accident was a structural failure of the upper vertical fins and rudders due to flutter which resulted in a loss of control of the aircraft.
Final Report: