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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 41143
Last updated: 22 April 2019
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Time:15:36 MDT
Type:Silhouette image of generic PAY2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31T Cheyenne I
Registration: N121BE
C/n / msn: 31T-8004036
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1/2 mile south of Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, Mont -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, Montana (GTF/KGTF)
Destination airport:Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, Montana (GTF/KGTF)
On May 19, 1998, approximately 15:36 mountain daylight time (MDT), a Piper PA-31T1 Cheyenne I airplane, N121BE, was observed to enter a steep descent and impact terrain approximately 1/2 mile south of the Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, Montana. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire, and both of the airplane's occupants (consisting of an airline transport pilot, who owned the airplane, and a multiengine and instrument-rated private pilot who was a former airline transport pilot and certificated flight instructor) were fatally injured. It could not be determined which of the aircraft occupants was acting as pilot-in-command of the flight.

The 14 CFR 91 local flight was described as an annual recurrent training flight required for the aircraft owner's insurance policy; however, due to the lack of an authorized instructor aboard the aircraft, the operation did not meet the FAA's definition of "flight training" as given in 14 CFR 61.1. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

The flight was on a practice non directional beacon (NDB) approach to Great Falls runway 34 in visual conditions. Abeam the final approach fix, the aircraft was 4 miles right of course. Upon being advised of this by ATC, the pilot corrected back to final with a 60-degree intercept angle, rolling out on course 3 miles from the runway. When the pilot called "missed approach", the local controller (a trainee) instructed the pilot to make a 360-degree right turn to enter right downwind for runway 3, and the pilot acknowledged. The controller trainee then amended this instruction to a 180-degree right turn to enter right downwind for runway 21, then to a 180-degree right turn to enter right downwind for runway 3. The crew did not acknowledge the amended instruction.

Controllers then observed the airplane had crashed. Witnesses reported the airplane entered a steep descent from a right turn and impacted the ground at a steep angle. The flight was described as recurrent training required by the owner's insurance; however, the second aircraft occupant's airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates had been revoked, and he held only a private pilot certificate. Investigators found no evidence of aircraft malfunctions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The flight crew's failure to maintain aircraft control.

Registration N121BE cancelled by the FAA on April 24, 2000 as "destroyed"


1. NTSB Identification: SEA98FA078 at
2. FAA:

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
07-Aug-2017 08:42 TB Updated [Aircraft type]
07-Aug-2017 08:43 TB Updated [Source]
13-Sep-2017 21:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
18-Sep-2017 21:06 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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