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N2650U accident description

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Tail numberN2650U
Accident dateSeptember 19, 2004
Aircraft typeCessna 172D
LocationMountain Home, ID
Near 43.204722 N, -115.516667 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 19, 2004, about 1730, mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172D, N2650U, registered to and operated by Mountain Home Aviation as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with mountainous terrain about ten nautical miles northeast of Mountain Home, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The aircraft departed from Mountain Home Municipal, Mountain Home, between 1600 to 1700.

The operator of the aircraft reported that the pilot checked out the aircraft without authorization or entering his name on the schedule sheet. When the pilot did not return home that night, a family member contacted the operator to report the overdue pilot and aircraft. A search of the area was initiated and the wreckage was located on September 20, 2004, about 1430.

During a telephone interview with the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge on September 22, an individual traveling south on Highway 20, about 1600, and about one mile north of the Rattle Snake Historic Marker, reported that he observed a red/white high wing, single engine aircraft "flying very low, no higher than 75 feet above the ground." This person watched the aircraft flying, "very aggressively, into and out of the canyon, "pulling up steeply, then back down into the canyon." The person also observed the aircraft make, "high banking turns, low to the ground." This person reported that the weather was partly cloudy, with a "little wind, but not too much to push the trailer that he was pulling around." He did not recall any rain and he did not observe the aircraft fly into any clouds. He did not see the aircraft crash, and was not aware of the accident until he heard about it on the news.


At the time of the accident, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine aircraft which was issued in September 1995. The pilot held a third class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate dated September 29, 2003. At this time, the pilot reported a total flight time of 634 hours.

A review of the pilot's medical history indicated that his first FAA medical certificate was issued in May 1973, with five hours of flight time reported. From 1973 to July 1991, the pilot held seven other class three medical certificates and accumulating flight time as a student pilot up until his private pilot certificate which was issued in September 1995. The third class medical certificate dated March 1995, indicated a total flight time of 603 hours.

In August 1997, the pilot reported a total flight time of 620 hours flight time on his medical application. The pilot also reported in his medical history the use of Prozac for "treatment for mild depression following divorce 91." The FAA denied his medical certificate at this time. In October 1997, a letter from a physician to the FAA reported that the pilot "had a very brief period of depression following a divorce in 1991," and "he was on medication for a very brief period of time. He had mild depression." The FAA responded in December 1997, indicating that the pilot was eligible for a third-class medical certificate. The letter further reported, "Because of your history of depression, operation of aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication is required."

The pilot did not apply for another medical certificate until September 29, 2003. At this time the pilot reported a total flight time of 634 hours. The pilot also indicated on his medical application that he had never had his FAA Airman Medical Certificate denied, and he did not indicate the use of any medications.

The owner of Mountain Home Aviation reported to the NTSB IIC, that the pilot's father had contacted him asking if he had seen his son because he had not returned that night. During the conversation, the father informed the owner that his son had been depressed that day and had gone to the airport to pay a previous flying bill. The father also reported that his son had been taking "some sort of Anti depressant, anti psychotic medication and that David (pilot) had been divorced and suffered from severe depression."

The owner reported to the NTSB investigator that the pilot had been checked out by one of their instructors and accomplished a flight review on November 2, 2003. The owner reported that the pilot had only flown three or four times, each flight less than about one hour in duration since. The owner was not aware that the pilot was using any medications.

The owner believed that the pilot entered the office late Sunday afternoon through the back door which has a numerical key pad, secured the book with the key and made the flight without permission or entering his name on the schedule. The owner believed that the flight departed sometime between 4-5 PM.


The wreckage was located on mountainous terrain at the 4,545 foot level at north 43 degrees 12.168 minutes latitude, west 115 degree 31.844 longitude . The terrain to the north rose to about 5,000 feet and the terrain to the south descended to the valley to about 4,000 feet. The ridgeline runs approximately east/west. The rocky terrain rose steeply from the valley floor to the accident site with the wreckage located nose down and embedded against a rock wall. The terrain in the immediate area of the site was about a 30 degree angle.

The first evidence of ground disturbance was noted about 37 feet downhill (south) of the main wreckage. Scratch marks were noted on a grouping of rocks followed by a sliding type disturbance of the soil leading up to the main wreckage on a magnetic heading of 20 degrees. Pieces of fiberglass and debris such as the aircraft battery, a seat, sections of the engine exhaust stack and fragments of the engine cowling were found in this area.

The entire intact cockpit instrument panel section was located 30 feet downhill from the main wreckage on a 110 degree heading. This section was laying against a large rock.

Additional small fragmented debris was located further uphill from the main about 150 feet on about a 30 degree heading.

The engine had separated from the firewall and was found downhill from the main wreckage in the valley about 500 feet below on a 140 degree heading from the main wreckage. The propeller and accessories had separated from the engine and remained at the main wreckage.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage section aft of the instrument panel. The section was positioned near vertical to the terrain. The aft section of the fuselage from the rear seats aft, was broken forward and positioned on the uphill side and on top of the forward fuselage section. The horizontal stabilizer with elevators attached at the hinges, and the vertical stabilizer, with the rudder attached at the hinges remained in place. The wings remained attached at the wing root, with the left wingtip area crushed among the rock wall. Both wings leading edge exhibited rearward crushing. The flaps and ailerons for both wings remained attached at their respective hinges. The flaps were retracted. The left side wing lift strut remained attached to the wing mount, but had torn away from the fuselage mount. The right side wing lift strut remained attached at the wing mount, and was partially attached and pushed into the side of the fuselage at the fuselage mount. The main landing gear struts and tires remained attached. The nose wheel was separated. Flight control continuity was established throughout.

The propeller assembly had separated from the crankshaft flange and was located next to the main wreckage. Blade "A" displayed severe leading edge gouging the entire length of the blade. The blade displayed an "S" bending. The blade tip was torn off. Blade "B" displayed aft bending with the tip curled forward with a section torn away. Gouging on the blade back was noted.

The engine, which was located in the valley several hundred feet below the main wreckage was positioned inverted against several smaller rocks. All accessories had separated from the accessory section and the accessory case was severely damaged exposing the accessory gearing. The cylinders remained attached. The rocker box covers were crushed inward. The oil sump was broken exposing the interior. The ignition harness was severely damaged.


The Elmore County Coroner's Office, Mountain Home, Idaho, performed an autopsy on the pilot. Glen R. Groben, M.D. reported that the pilot's cause of death as "Blunt force trauma due to an aircraft accident." Toxicological samples were taken and sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis.

Toxicological findings indicated that the pilot tested positive for: Quinine in blood; Diphenhydramine detected in blood and in the liver; Zolpidem detected in the liver; Olanzapine detected in the liver; 1.226 (ug/mL. ua/a) Fluoxetine detected in blood and present in liver; Norfluoxetine deselected in blood and present in liver; Topiramate present in blood and Lamotrigine present in blood.


The wreckage was recovered from the accident site by personnel from SP Aircraft, Boise, Idaho. The wreckage and associated maintenance records were released to the owner's representative on October 20, 2004.

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