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Last updated: 29 November 2021
Date:Wednesday 19 December 2012
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE10 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft B100 King Air
Operator:Stinger Welding Inc.
Registration: N499SW
MSN: BE-89
First flight: 1980
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-6-511B
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:9 km (5.6 mls) NNE of Libby Airport, MT (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 1274 m (4180 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Coolidge Municipal Airport, AZ, United States of America
Destination airport:Libby Airport, MT, United States of America
A Beechcraft B100 King Air turboprop plane was destroyed when it struck terrain on top of Swede Mountain, north northeast of Libby Airport, MT, USA. The pilot and passenger were killed.
The flight left Coolidge Municipal Airport, AZ about 20:25 on December 18, piloted by the CEO of Stinger Welding Inc. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the pilot had been cleared for the GPS-A instrument approach procedure for the Libby Airport. The clearance had a crossing restriction of 10,700 feet at the PACCE intersection, which was the initial approach fix for the GPS-A approach. The pilot acknowledged that clearance at 23:53. At 23:59, the airplane target was about 7 miles south of the airport; the pilot reported the field in sight, and cancelled the IFR flight plan.
A police officer reported that he observed an airplane fly over the city of Libby, which was north of the airport; the airplane then turned toward the airport. The officer went to the airport to investigate, but observed no airplane. He noted that it was foggy in town, but the airport was clear. He also observed that the rotating beacon was illuminated, but not the pilot controlled runway lighting.
The flight was reported overdue during the day; the wreckage was located at 18:35 on a tree covered slope.

The town and airport were located within a sparsely populated area that had limited lighting conditions, which, along with the clouds and 35 percent moon illumination, would have restricted the pilotís visual references. These conditions likely led to his being geographically disoriented (lost) and his subsequent failure to maintain sufficient altitude to clear terrain. Although the pilot did not possess a valid pilotís certificate, a review of his logbooks indicated that he had considerable experience flying the airplane, usually while accompanied by another pilot, and that he had flown in both visual and IFR conditions. A previous student pilot medical certificate indicated that the pilot was color blind and listed limitations for flying at night and for using color signals. The pilot had applied for another student pilot certificate 2 months before the accident, but this certificate was deferred pending a medical review.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The noncertificated pilotís failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering to land in dark night conditions likely due to his geographic disorientation (lost). Contributing to the accident was the pilotís improper decision to fly at night with a known visual limitation."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Accident number: WPR13FA073
Download report: Summary report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain



photo of Beechcraft-B100-King-Air-N499SW
accident date: 19-12-2012
type: Beechcraft B100 King Air
registration: N499SW
photo of Beechcraft-B100-King-Air-N499SW
accident date: 19-12-2012
type: Beechcraft B100 King Air
registration: N499SW
photo of Beechcraft-B100-King-Air-N499SW
accident date: 19-12-2012
type: Beechcraft B100 King Air
registration: N499SW

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 Coolidge Municipal Airport, AZ to Libby Airport, MT as the crow flies is 1729 km (1080 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkís 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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