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N767 accident description

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Tail numberN767
Accident dateMay 25, 2003
Aircraft typeCessna 180H
LocationYellow Pine, ID
Near 44.891944 N, -114.888889 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On Sunday, May 25, 2003, approximately 0955 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 180H, N767, departed the Flying B Ranch airstrip, located about 30 miles east of Yellow Pine, Idaho, with an ultimate destination of Reno-Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada. When the pilot did not arrive for an appointment at the beginning of the next week, a search of his probable route was initiated on May 28, 2003. On June 3, 2003, the wreckage of the aircraft was located in heavily-wooded rugged terrain about eight miles southwest of the point of departure. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, received fatal injuries, and the aircraft, which was owned and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal pleasure flight, had been conducted in an area of visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed. There was no report of an ELT activation, and no such signals were received during an aerial search of the subject area.

According to individuals who had talked to the pilot, he planned to stop at Caldwell, Idaho to refuel prior to proceeding to Reno. Also reported by individuals at the Flying B Ranch, at the time of the pilot's departure, thunderstorm activity was building to the south, which is the normal departure route from this airstrip.

The aircraft, which was at the very southwest end of a box canyon, impacted the top part of 100-foot tall trees, about 500 feet below the pass to the next most westerly canyon.


At the time of the accident, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine aircraft and an instrument rating. The pilot's flight logbook was not made available for review, however, during the pilot's last Federal Aviation Administration medical examination, on April 3, 2003, for a Class III certificate, the pilot reported a total flight time of 2,620 flight hours, with 30 hours in the preceding six months. No waivers or limitations were reported.

A close friend to the pilot reported that he had flown into and out of the Flying B Ranch on several occasions. To this persons knowledge, the pilot had never been in the canyon where the accident occurred.


On site documentation and area photographs of the wreckage were provided by the Valley County Sheriff's Office during the recovery efforts. The officer on site reported that the accident site was located in an area that was covered with closely spaced trees in height to about 100 feet. The trees had been previously burned during a forest fire. The accident site coordinates were reported as 44 degrees 53.52 minutes north latitude, 114 degrees 53.32 minutes west longitude at an elevation of approximately 8,040 feet. To the west of the accident site, the valley closed in rising terrain. The surrounding terrain leading up to and along the valley ranged in elevation from about 8,300 to 8,600 feet.

The aircraft came to rest inverted with the nose of the aircraft pointing to about 30 degrees. Evidence of contact to trees was noted beginning about 96 yards to the north from the main wreckage. A path of broken trees leading up to the main wreckage was on a southerly heading. The right wing separated at the wing root and was positioned about 20 feet from the nose of the main wreckage. The left wing remained partially attached at the root and in its respective position.

The engine remained partially attached to the firewall and was displaced to the right side. One propeller blade separated from the propeller hub and was located in close proximity to the wreckage among a tangle of broken limbs. The other propeller blade remained at the engine.

The fuselage retained its basic shape, but the structure was compromised by impact forces resulting in buckling along the entire length and on all sides. The cabin area was crushed downward, resulting in reduced headroom. All three landing gear were separated.

The vertical stabilizer was bent over to the right side and flat against the remainder of the right side horizontal stabilizer. Both left and right side horizontal stabilizers indicated significant impact damage.

The wreckage was recovered by personnel from Snake River Aircraft Maintenance Inc., and transported to Twin Falls, Idaho, for further examination.


The Ada County Coroner's Office, Boise, Idaho, conducted an autopsy on the pilot and reported the pilot's cause of death as blunt force trauma.

Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis. The results of the analysis were negative for carbon monoxide in blood, cyanide in blood, ethanol in urine and drugs in blood.


On May 24, 2003, the pilot flew from Flying B to McCall, Idaho, to pick up supplies. While at the McCall Airport, the pilot met with an acquaintance. During the conversation, the pilot indicated that he was going to be heading back to Reno, Nevada, the next day. The pilot indicated that his proposed route was to depart from the Flying B and head down the Loon Creek drainage to the area of Mahoney Creek, then turn west and fly between Bruce Meadows and Deadwood Reservoir, then continue south to the Boise area, then on to Reno.

A Garmin GPSMAP 295 was recovered from the wreckage and sent to Garmin International, Inc., Olathe, Kansas, for downloading of retrievable data. The unit contained 11 waypoints, one route, and four individual track logs. The active log, dated May 25, 2003, contained 19 trackpoints and began approximately four nautical miles southwest of the Flying B Ranch Airstrip. The tracking terminated approximately eight miles south of the airstrip. The first trackpoint indicated the aircraft at 6,015 feet. The tracking continued on a southwesterly heading following the valley to a westerly heading for the next 2 minutes, 33 seconds, with a continued climb to 7,966 feet over a distance of about four nautical miles. Towards the end of the tracking the aircraft turned back to a southwesterly heading with the airspeed decreasing from the highest airspeed of 108 knots at the beginning of the tracking to the lowest airspeed of 63 knots towards the end of the tracking. The last tracking indicated the aircraft making a turn from southwesterly to the south, decreasing altitude and increasing airspeed. The last trackpoint indicated the aircraft at 44 degrees 53.657 north latitude, 114 degrees 53.109 west longitude at an altitude of 7,966 feet on a heading of 150 degrees magnetic and 72 knots airspeed.

Two other track logs dated May 23 (flight to Flying B Ranch) and May 24, 2003 (flight from Flying B Ranch). The departure route from the Flying B Ranch to McCall on May 24, indicated a southeasterly heading for about five nautical miles following the Loon Creek drainage, before turning southwesterly.

On July 16, 2003, at Snake River Aircraft Maintenance, Twin Falls, Idaho, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors inspected the airframe and engine.

Inspection of the right wing indicated a circular indent along the leading edge approximately six inches in diameter and 64 inches outboard from the wing root with crushing aft to the main spar. Brown colored transfer was noted in this area. The upper aft wing skin was torn open from the wing root, outboard to the aileron bell crank. The upper side of the wing skin was wrinkled starting at the leading edge wing root and transferred outward and aft at an approximately 45 degree angle. The aileron and flap remained attached to their respective hinges.

The left wing indicated a circular indentation about 53 inches outboard from the wing root with crushing aft to the main spar. The aileron and flap remained attached to their respective hinges.

The left wing strut leading edge indicated a circular indent, with brown colored transfer noted 46 inches down from the upper attach point. The right wing strut indicated an indentation about 30 inches from the upper attach point. The upper attach fitting had been pulled from the strut.

The flap handle was found in the 10 degree position with both flaps extended approximately 10 degrees.

The left and right fuel tanks had been compromised and were found empty with the fuel caps secured. The right fuel tank fore and aft finger strainers were found clean. The left fuel tank aft finger strainer was clean while the left forward strainer could not be found. The fuel selector was found in the "both" position and the mechanism worked freely. The gascolator was found empty and the screen was clean.

Flight control continuity was established to all flight control surfaces to include the rudder and elevator trims. The elevator trim indicator was found to be approximately 1/4 travel nose up. The rudder trim indicator was found to be approximately 1/4 travel to the right. The stall warning horn was found to be operational.

The leading edge of the left side horizontal stabilizer was crushed and flattened rearward and was detached about 24 inches outboard from the fuselage. The separated outboard part was broken into three pieces. The inboard 21 inches of the left elevator was attached to the horizontal stabilizer at the stabilizer center hinge. The outboard 38 inches was detached.

The right side horizontal stabilizer was detached about 32 inches outboard from the fuselage and the leading edge had a circular indentation and was crushed rearward about 30 inches inboard from the tip. The inboard 26 inches of the elevator was found attached to the horizontal stabilizer.

The vertical stabilizer was bent to the right side. The rudder was attached at the hinges and the upper 15 inches was separated.

The engine was removed from the airframe and placed on a stand. The baffling was attached as well as the magnetos, vacuum pump, propeller governor, starter, and oil filter. The carburetor and attaching induction components had been removed on impact. The crankshaft was rotated and gear and valve train continuity was established. Compression was developed in each cylinder except to number six. The number six cylinder indicated impact damage to the front forward outside corner. Both rocker arms were damaged. The exhaust push rod was bent and the intake pushrod and push rod tube were missing. The oil filter was cut open and inspected, revealing normal carbon deposits. All spark plug electrodes indicated normal wear signatures with some lead build-up noted to the lower plugs. The carburetor was opened and no fuel was found in the bowl. The float, needle and seat appeared intact. The intake screen was clean. The vacuum pump was inspected and the vanes and rotor were intact. The magnetos were rotated by hand and a spark was produced from each tower.

The propeller blades indicated that blade "A" displayed severe "S" bending with 1/2 inch of the outer tip torn off and curled. The leading edge was gouged about 17 inches from the hub.

Propeller blade "B" displayed minor "S" bending along the outer 10 inches and was curled forward about 90 degrees. The propeller hub was broken in half.

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