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Accident description
Last updated: 17 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 6 February 2007
Time:21:04
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 200 Super King Air
Operator:Metro Aviation
Registration: N45MF
C/n / msn: BB-234
First flight: 1977
Total airframe hrs:5992
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:24 km (15 mls) NNW of Belgrade , MT (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Great Falls International Airport, MT (GTF/KGTF), United States of America
Destination airport:Bozeman-Gallatin Field, MT (BZN/KBZN), United States of America
Narrative:
A Beechcraft 200 Super King Air airplane, N45MF, collided with sparsely populated mountainous terrain north-northwest of the Bozeman-Gallatin Field, MT (BZN).
The airplane sustained substantial damage and the three occupants, an airline transport pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse, were killed.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) positioning flight departed Great Falls International Airport, MT (GTF), at 20:40. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport and dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the destination airport.
The airplane was approximately 42 nautical miles from the tower-controlled destination airport, when the pilot was cleared for the visual approach. The flight did not arrive at the airport and reports were received that it had crashed.
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.
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:

PROBABE 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."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 12 months
Accident number: SEA07FA051
Download report: Summary report

Sources:
» SKYbrary 
» SKYbrary 
» NTSB


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Map
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 Great Falls International Airport, MT to Bozeman-Gallatin Field, MT as the crow flies is 189 km (118 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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