Narrative:The flight departed Tonopah at 09:30 for a 73-mile VFR flight to Bishop. The aircraft was not carrying cargo at the time of the accident. The Beech failed to arrive at the destination; search efforts were initiated and the wreckage was subsequently found February 14 on the eastern slopes of White Mountain in the Inyo National Forest at 9,500 feet.
A witnesses observed the aircraft flying between 7,000 and 8,000 feet msl as it entered Trace Plumas Canyon on White Mountain and begin a gradual left turn. The aircraft then disappeared from view. The canyon leads to the accident site. According to the operator, the pilot had successfully bid on a captain position on larger equipment and this was to be his last trip along this route. Several acquaintances of the pilot located at Tonopah reported that he intended to take a camera with him and photograph some scenic locations along this route.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to follow procedures and directives and his failure to maintain clearance from mountainous terrain.".
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
N987RA briefly moved to Jamaica in 1997 before returning to the U.S. to fly for Ameriflight as N205RA
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Tonopah Airport, NV to Bishop Airport, CA as the crow flies is 135 km (84 miles).