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N104CA accident description

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Tail numberN104CA
Accident dateJune 12, 2003
Aircraft typeAviat Aircraft Inc. A-1
LocationAtlanta, ID
Near 43.800278 N, -115.133333 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 12, 2003, approximately 1309 mountain daylight time, an Aviat (Husky) A-1, N104CA, registered to Stikair Inc., operated by the pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with a tree during a go-around attempt at the Atlanta Airport, Atlanta, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The flight last departed from Camas County Airstrip (U86), Fairfield, Idaho, about 45 minutes prior to the accident.

A witness to the accident reported to the Elmore County Sheriff's Department that he was watching the aircraft from his residence in Atlanta. The witness reported that he observed the aircraft circle the area before approaching runway 34. The witness stated that the aircraft was "coming in too fast and too high" when it pulled up. The aircraft circled around and started the approach again. During this approach, the aircraft touched down about mid-field. The witness heard a backfire and the aircraft veered to the right of the runway. The aircraft lifted off subsequently colliding with trees at the end of the runway. The witness observed the plane come down with the tail of the aircraft straight up.

A local resident, who was the first person at the accident site, reported that the weather at the time was clear skies. The wind was calm and the temperature was about 75 to 80 degrees F.


At the time of the accident, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land aircraft. The pilot's flight logbook indicated a total flight time of approximately 520 hours in all aircraft, with approximately 426 hours as pilot-in-command. Approximately 23 hours total flight time had been accumulated in the accident aircraft with approximately 11 hours as pilot-in-command.

The flight logbook indicated that the first flight in the accident aircraft was on January 14, 2003. A series of dual instruction flights were logged up to May 5, 2003, when the entry indicated that the pilot was signed off for solo operations.

The pilot held a class III FAA medical certificate dated April 28, 2003, with a restriction that corrective lenses must be worn. The pilot's body weight at the time was listed as 204 pounds.


The 1996 Aviat Aircraft Inc., A-1, "Husky", serial number 1338, had been maintained in accordance with an annual/100 hour inspection program. The maintenance logbooks indicated that the last annual/100 hour inspection was accomplished on July 8, 2002, at a total airframe time of 238.7 hours.

The tachometer recorded at the time of the accident indicated a total time of 283.8 hours. The Lycoming O-360-A1P engine serial number L-35261-36A was equipped with a Hartzell propeller.


The Idaho Airport Facilities Directory indicated that the Atlanta Airstrip (55H) is located at Latitude 43 degrees 48.1 minutes North, Longitude 115 degrees 08.8 minutes West. The airstrip's elevation is 5,500 feet mean sea level. The airstrip is 2,650 feet in length and 60 feet wide with a turf surface. Runway alignment is 34/16. The remarks section indicated "High timbered ridges limit maneuvering area." "Recommend land rwy 34, depart rwy 16. Approach up Boise River - making right circling pattern over valley to check traffic at Greene Airport. Depart with a right turnout down Boise River."

A "Fly Idaho! A guide to Adventure in the Idaho Backcountry" was found in the wreckage. This guide book provided an aerial colored photograph of the airstrip and surrounding mountainous terrain. The guidebook also provided a lower aerial view of the airstrip for final approach to runway 34. This view clearly depicts the rising terrain directly off the departure end of runway 34 and the close proximity of trees near the airstrip. This guidebook also indicated the airport cautions as indicated in the Idaho Airport Facilities Directory.

The Airguide Publications Flight Guide, Volume 1, was also found in the wreckage. This guide for the Atlanta Airstrip identified a caution, "Own risk. Can be hzrds (hazardous). Not rcmndd xcpt exp (recommended except experienced) pilots with local knowledge."


On site documentation of the wreckage was conducted on June 13, 2003, by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Lycoming Engines.

The wreckage was located with the aid of a hand help global positioning system (GPS) on flat rough terrain at 43 degrees 48.920 minutes North latitude, 115 degrees 08.005 minutes West longitude. The elevation rose slightly from the end of the airstrip (5,500 foot elevation) to the accident site. A magnetic bearing of 40 degrees was measured from the end of the airstrip to the wreckage. The distance from the end of the airstrip to an approximate 80 foot high pine tree was approximately 400 feet. At the base of this tree, Plexiglas, red paint chips, a green lens cap from the right wing tip, and freshly broken tree limbs measuring in diameter of approximately four inches were noted. The uppermost section of this tree indicated fresh breaks. Approximately 76 feet was measured from the base of the 80-foot tree to the wreckage on a magnetic bearing of 30 degrees.

The aircraft was oriented on a magnetic heading of 060 degrees. The right main landing gear was collapsed outward. The left main landing gear was collapsed under the belly. Both the pilot's and passenger seat legs were crushed downward.

The left wing remained attached to the wing root. The wing was collapsed downward and the outboard surface was laying on the ground. No leading edge damage was noted. The wing lift struts were bent, but remained attached at the attach points to the wing and side of the fuselage. Both the flap and aileron remained attached to their respective hinges.

The right wing was reported to have been partially attached at the wing root, but was separated and moved to provide access to the occupants. Control cables were cut and fuel lines were plugged to stop fuel leakage. The wing lift struts remained attached at the wing attach points. The struts were bent and had been separated from the structure at the fuselage attach points. Two approximate six inch in diameter circular indents were noted along the leading edge near the wing tip. The first indent was just inboard of the wingtip cap, the other indent was approximately two feet inboard of the first indent. The two indentations crushed the structure aft approximately 18 inches. Both the flap and aileron remained attached to their respective hinges.

The fuselage remained intact with the engine secured at the firewall. The empennage to include the horizontal stabilizer with rudder attached and horizontal stabilizers with elevators attached were undamaged.

Flight control continuity was established to all flight control surfaces.

The propeller assembly remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Blade "A" displayed "S" bending deformation. Chordwise scratches were noted on the blade back. Severe leading and trailing edge gouges were noted. Blade "B" was partially buried in the soil. The blade was uncovered and found that the outboard approximate six inches of the tip was torn off. The tip section was found underneath the engine cowling. Chordwise scratches and gouges were also noted to the blade.

Engine control continuity was established to the throttle, mixture control, propeller and carburetor heat.


A local resident who was the first person to arrive at the accident site reported that both occupants were still alive. The passenger succumbed to his injuries just before the Life Flight helicopter arrived. The pilot succumbed to his injuries early the next morning.


On July 16, 2003, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration inspected the engine. The crankshaft rotated easily by hand. Accessory gear and valve train continuity was established. Compression was developed in each cylinder. A spark was produced from the magneto leads. All spark plugs displayed normal operating signatures.

A family member reported that the pilot had not been into this airstrip before. The purpose of the flight was to travel to several airports over a three day period. The flight originated from Spanish Fork, Utah, about 0635 on the day of the accident. This information was attained via the GPS track log. A notebook found in the wreckage indicated the progress of the days activities. The notes indicated that the aircraft made a fuel stop in Jerome, Idaho (JER). The GPS track log indicated a break in time ending at 0911 and beginning again at 0931. The flight then continued on to Magic Reservoir (U93) located 33 nautical miles north of Jerome. The notes indicated "just landed and took off." The GPS time indicated 1006. The flight then continued to Camas County (U86), Fairfield, Idaho, located 18 nautical miles west of Magic Reservoir. A landing was made with the GPS track log time ending at 1024. The notes indicated that they had breakfast and visited a museum. The GPS track log continued at 1219. The next destination was to Pine (1U9) located 24 nautical miles west of Camas County. The note indicated 1245, that no landing was made, "just flew over." The GPS log indicated an elevation of approximately 11,900 feet in this area with the flight altitude climbing to around 12,500 feet. The next destination was to Atlanta (55H) with a note "swim." Atlanta was located 23 nautical miles north of Pine.

The GPS flight tracking indicated that the route of flight was not direct from Pine to Atlanta, but diverted to the northwest towards Weatherby USFS Airstrip (52U) before turning easterly towards Atlanta. Upon reaching the Atlanta area, the tracking indicted that the flight made two 360 degree turns over the area before making a pass over the airstrip. The flight path then made right turns for the final approach to runway 34. The last trackpoint was indicated at North 43 degrees 48.910 minutes latitude, West 115 degrees 08.019 minutes longitude. The elevation indicated 5,520 feet at 1308:57 mountain daylight time.

The airport manager at Jerome reported that he spoke with the passenger who indicated that the pilot, his son, had recently acquired this aircraft. After learning of their plans and which airports they were going to, the manager inquired if the pilot had done much back country flying. The passenger indicated not in Idaho. The manager suggested that they speak with one of the pilot's who had been into Atlanta before as it was a "tricky" approach. The passenger indicated that that was not necessary as they had a "book." The passenger did not indicate any problems with the aircraft. No other services other than fuel were required.

Fuel added at Jerome was 15.99 gallons of 100LL fuel. The fuel depot is a self-serve pump, therefore it is unknown if the fuel tanks were topped off. The Airplane Flight Manual indicated that the two wing fuel tanks hold 25 gallons of fuel each. Approximately 30 to 35 gallons of fuel remained in the wing fuel tanks at the time of wreckage recovery. The recovery personnel reported that the left wing contained more fuel than the right wing. The right wing had been leaking fuel at the time of the accident and the first responders blocked the fuel line.

The Husky A-1 Airplane Flight Manual indicated that the gross weight of the aircraft is 1,800 pounds. The Revised Weight and Balance Data and Equipment List, dated January 7, 1998, indicated an empty weight of 1,267.3 pounds. The pilot's body weight, as indicated on his last Class III FAA Medical Certificated dated April 28, 2003, indicated a body weight of 204 pounds. The passengers body weight was estimated as 180 pounds. The baggage compartment which indicated not to exceed 50 pounds, was loaded with two sleeping bags, a tent, two overnight bags and camera gear. The baggage was estimated to weigh at least 50 pounds.

The wreckage was recovered by Snake River Aircraft Maintenance, Twin Falls, Idaho. The wreckage was released to personnel from Snake River Aircraft Maintenance on July 16, 2003. Items retained by the NTSB for review or testing by the NTSB (see NTSB Forms 6120.15) were returned to a family representative by July 25, 2003. .

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.