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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 177752
Last updated: 5 December 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BE35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft A35 Bonanza
Owner/operator:Bowman Lee
Registration: N8749A
C/n / msn: D-2171
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:North Cascades, west of Mazama, WA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Kalispell, MT (S27)
Destination airport:Lynden, WA (38W)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A review of recorded communications between the pilot and a flight service station revealed that, before the flight, the noninstrument-rated, private pilot received two formal weather briefings. Both briefings reported that visual flight rules (VFR) conditions existed at the departure and destination airports but included forecast weather conditions along the route of flight that called for areas of mountain obscuration and precipitation. During the first briefing, the pilot disclosed that he had recently acquired a new tablet and that he was still learning how to use it. He also acknowledged that he would not be able to fly instrument flight rules if it became necessary.
The pilot postponed his departure after the first briefing, but he and two passengers departed for the cross-country personal flight under VFR about 2 hours after the second briefing. The surviving passenger reported that, about 1 1/2 hours into the flight, the cloud coverage increased and that the pilot started to descend the airplane to stay clear of clouds; however, the airplane entered a cloud. At that time, the other passenger was using the pilotís tablet to help him navigate the airplane, but she accidentally turned it off. Shortly after, the surviving passenger observed trees directly in front of the windshield. The pilot pulled back on the yoke to try and gain altitude, but the airplane impacted mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 5,255†ft mean sea level.
The wreckage was confined to the impact area, and the damage was consistent with controlled flight into terrain. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A review of satellite imagery indicated cloudy conditions over the accident location. Given the passengerís statement, the flight likely encountered instrument meteorological conditions, and the pilot was unable to see the mountainous terrain until seconds before the collision.

Probable Cause: The noninstrument-rated pilotís decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance from mountainous terrain.


FAA register:

Revision history:

13-Jul-2015 08:50 gerard57 Added
13-Jul-2015 16:54 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Destination airport, Source]
13-Jul-2015 18:48 Chieftain Updated [Departure airport]
14-Jul-2015 01:26 Geno Updated [Source, Narrative]
14-Jul-2015 16:47 dfix1 Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]
14-Jul-2015 20:09 Geno Updated [Total fatalities, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
14-Jul-2015 20:11 Geno Updated [Narrative]
15-Jul-2015 05:37 reformFAAnow Updated [Time, Location, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
01-Dec-2017 15:04 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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