Narrative:The Beech 1900C carried 5,000 pounds of first-class and priority mail on a flight from Billings (BIL) to Great Falls (GTF). The pilot departed from runway 10L, and then took up a heading of about 070 degrees, as he had been cleared. Soon thereafter he was advised that his transponder was squawking a visual flight rules (VFR) code of 1200. After he corrected that, he was given a climb limit of 16,000 feet, and told to turn left to a heading of 310 degrees, which he did. He was then instructed to turn further left to 290 degrees, to intercept Victor 187 (a low altitude airway), and to then resume his own navigation. The pilot responded to that clearance, but according to the radar data, the airplane started a slow right turn.
About 45 seconds after the last radio contact, the departure controller advised the pilot that he had lost radar contact. There was no response from the pilot to that transmission. The airplane impacted the ground in a construction yard near the north edge of a cinderblock building. The impact was followed by an extensive fire. The crash was just west of the intersection of Main Street and Jerrie Lane.
Probable Cause:PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during the initial climb for undetermined reasons."
Loss of control
» Mail plane crashes near Main Street in Billings; pilot killed (Billings Gazette, 23-5-2008)
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 Billings-Logan International Airport, MT to Great Falls International Airport, MT as the crow flies is 283 km (177 miles).