ASN Aircraft accident Martin 2-0-2 N93040 Butte Airport, MT (BTM)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 7 November 1950
Type:Martin 2-0-2
Operator:Northwest Orient Airlines
Registration: N93040
MSN: 9161
First flight: 1947
Total airframe hrs:6166
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA18
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 21 / Occupants: 21
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5 km (3.1 mls) E of Butte Airport, MT (BTM) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 2515 m (8251 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Helena Airport, MT (HLN/KHLN), United States of America
Destination airport:Butte Airport, MT (BTM/KBTM), United States of America
Flightnumber: 115
Northwest Flight 115 originated at Chicago and was heading for Seattle Via intermediate stops. At Minneapolis, the first scheduled stop. both the equipment and the flight crew were changed. N93040 departed Minneapolis at 00:30 and proceeded uneventfully to Billings, Great Falls and Helena. At Helena, the aircraft was fueled and was off the ground at 07:53, using runway 29. The flight plan, amended before takeoff, specified an altitude of 10,500 feet MSL under instrument flight rules via Amber Airway No. 2 to the Whitehall (Montana) Range Station and from there to the Butte Airport via Red Airway No. 2. Following takeoff from runway 29, the aircraft was flown in a climbing right turn so that it passed approximately over the Station as it headed south toward the Whitehall Range Station. At 08:01 the flight reported to Helena that it had reached its cruising altitude. This message was acknowledged. The next message from the flight was to Butte at 08:14 stating that it was over Whitehall Range Station at 08:11 and starting descent. Butte acknowledged this message, gave that flight the station altimeter setting of 29.97, advised that the wind was south, calm, and that the Weather Bureau advised what the ceiling was lower to the east and north and better to the south and southwest. Flight 115 replied that it had vertical visibility at 10,500 feet. This was the last radio contact with the flight.
At approximately 08:15 the aircraft struck the eastern slope of a ridge about 30 feet below its crest, at an altitude of about 8,250 feet MSL. The site of impact was approximately 2-1/2 miles east of the control tower at the Butte Airport, and about 1-1/2 miles to the right of the center of the on-course signal from Whitehall to Butte. The ridge which was struck is paralleled by another somewhat similar ridge approximately three or four miles to the east.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the captain to conduct the flight in accordance with the prescribed procedure."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» CAB File No. 1-0125
» ICAO Aircraft Accident Digest No.2, Circular 24-AN/21 (41-43)


photo of Martin-2-0-2-N93040
accident date: 07-11-1950
type: Martin 2-0-2
registration: N93040
photo of Martin-2-0-2-N93040
accident date: 07-11-1950
type: Martin 2-0-2
registration: N93040
photo of Martin-2-0-2-N93040
accident date: 07-11-1950
type: Martin 2-0-2
registration: N93040
photo of Martin-2-0-2-N93040

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 Helena Airport, MT to Butte Airport, MT as the crow flies is 82 km (51 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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Martin 2-0-2

  • 43 built
  • 4th loss
  • 4th fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
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