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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 16773
Last updated: 31 March 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-181
Owner/operator:Rocky Mountain College
Registration: N432RM
C/n / msn: 2843623
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Big Pryor Mountain, 40 miles south of Billings, Montana -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Billings, MT (BIL)
Destination airport:Powell, WY (POY)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot departed on a night, solo cross-country flight to fulfill a training requirement for his commercial pilot certificate. Although the pilot was aware that the flight was to be flown using dead reckoning and pilotage, he did not verify the ground checkpoints during the flight, which resulted in his loss of situational awareness. Following departure, the air traffic controller had the pilot fly southeast of the airport. After the pilot cleared the airspace, in an action inconsistent with established visual flight rules (VFR) procedures set by his school, the pilot incorrectly entered a true course rather than a magnetic course into the global positioning system (GPS) onboard the airplane. In the process of programming the GPS unit, he used a GPS course entry procedure that was only to be used during instrument flight procedures rather than VFR flight navigation. The pilot then activated the autopilot to fly the entered course. During the flight, the airplane entered instrument flight rules conditions and the pilot disconnected the autopilot. The pilot then received a warning on the GPS that the airplane was close to terrain. He began a left turn to return to visual flight rules. During the turn, the airplane impacted the terrain. The pilot did not report any mechanical or navigational anomalies with the airplane and none were identified during the postaccident examination of the wreckage and instrumentation.
Probable Cause: The pilot failed to maintain situational awareness during the flight. Contributing to the accident were the dark night, the pilot's failure to follow approved navigational procedures for the flight, and the pilot's over reliance on the avionics in the airplane.



Revision history:

27-Mar-2008 01:03 Fusko Added
27-Mar-2008 12:44 Fusko Updated
27-Mar-2008 12:45 mmiller Updated
27-Mar-2008 12:47 junglepilot Updated
27-Mar-2008 13:06 stargazer Updated
27-Mar-2008 13:08 harro Updated
09-Aug-2008 09:00 Anon. Updated
19-Aug-2008 10:45 Anon. Updated
11-May-2009 20:14 slowkid Updated
21-Dec-2016 19:13 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:14 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
03-Dec-2017 10:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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