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N2007U accident description

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Tail numberN2007U
Accident dateApril 01, 2009
Aircraft typeMaule M-4-220C
LocationHungry Horse, MT
Near 48.1075 N, -113.710278 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 1, 2009, about 1630 mountain daylight time, a Maule M4-220C, N2007U, impacted the frozen surface of a reservoir near Hungry Horse, Montana. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The certificated private pilot was killed; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The personal local flight departed Glacier Park International Airport (KGPI), Kalispell, Montana, at 1602. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the departure airport, and no flight plan had been filed.

Preliminary radar data revealed that an airplane departed Glacier Park Airport at 1602:48 using a discreet transponder code of 1200. The target climbed on a northeast course to 4,500 feet msl as reported by the mode C transponder. Three miles northeast of the departure airport the target made a 360-degree left turn before continuing on the original track. Over the course of the next 2 minutes the target continued climbing until at 1608:36 the last radar return was received at an altitude of 5,100 feet, 1 mile west of the town of Hungry Horse.

The airplane became subject of an Alert Notice (ALNOT) after family members reported the pilot had not returned home. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center also received indication of the activation of a 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) in the vicinity of the Hungry Horse Reservoir.

A search was initiated by the Flathead County Sheriff's department, and at 0020 the following morning, the wreckage was located.

The wreckage was situated on the frozen surface of the 35-mile-long Hungry Horse Reservoir, 26 miles southeast of the last radar return. The sheriff's department reported that snow and cloud obscuration in the area prevented the search from being initiated from the air. First responders reported that the airplane was covered with a layer snow when they arrived. They further stated that by first light the following morning, about 4 inches of snow had accumulated at the accident site.

The closest aviation weather observation station was located at Glacier Park Airport, 28 miles northwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 2,977 feet msl.

An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for GPI was issued at 1555. It stated:

Winds from 260 degrees at 12 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies clear; temperature 07 degrees Celsius; dew point -06 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.79 inches of mercury.

A METAR for GPI was issued at 1655. It stated:

Winds from 250 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 20 knots; visibility 10 miles; skies scattered 4,000 feet; broken 6,500 feet; temperature 06 degrees Celsius; dew point -07 degrees Celsius; altimeter 29.79 inches of mercury.

The FAA reported that Lockheed Martin Flight Services had provided no weather-related services to N2007U on day of the accident.

The accident site was located in the center of a 1-mile-wide section of the reservoir, at an elevation of 3,564 feet agl. The site was flanked to the east and west by the peaks of the Flathead Mountain Range. The elevation of the peaks directly to the east and west was 8,396 and 7,542 feet, respectively.

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