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N33865 accident description

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Tail numberN33865
Accident dateSeptember 04, 2003
Aircraft typeAeronca 65-CA
LocationPolson, MT
Near 47.666667 N, -114.216667 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On September 4, 2003, at 0558 mountain daylight time, an Aeronca 65-CA, N33865, registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 flight, collided with high tension power lines and subsequently the ground near Polson, Montana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. It is believed that the flight departed from Hot Springs, Montana, approximately 15 minutes prior to the accident. The purpose of the flight is unknown and the flights destination is unknown.

The terrain in the vicinity of the accident site was flat to rolling. Power company personnel reported that the power to the line failed at 0558. The elevation of the power line was estimated at 40 feet above ground level. Three lines run between towers. Two of the lines remained intact, while the third line was severed. One of the intact lines showed evidence of white paint transfer on the cable. The other intact cable showed evidence that a couple of the strands within the cable were severed. The aircraft wreckage was located below the lines.

The aircraft came to rest inverted. The right wing was severely deformed, while the left wing remained relatively intact. The left main landing gear separated from the aircraft. The right main landing gear remained attached, however, bent aft. The nose of the aircraft was crushed aft. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. One propeller blade displayed severe "S" bending deformation. The other propeller blade was bent aft.

The U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department reported that on September 4, 2003, civil twilight began at 0627, with sunrise at 0659.

The nearest weather reporting facility located 39 miles northwest of the accident site at Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell, Montana, was reporting at 0555 a visibility of 5 statute miles and smoke. The wind was calm.

At the time of the accident, the pilot held a commercial flight certificate for single-engine aircraft with an instrument rating. The pilot's flight logbook has not been located. The Federal Aviation Administration Aeromedical division reported that the last medical certificate issued to the pilot was a Class II, dated December 13, 1989. At this time the pilot reported a total flight time of 600 hours.

A postmortem was performed on the pilot by Gary Dale, M.D., State Medical Examiner, Montana Division of Forensic Science, Missoula, Montana. The pilot's cause of death was reported as multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute for analysis. The results of the analysis were positive for Ethanol in blood, urine, vitreous and brain. Acetaldehyde was positive in blood, urine and brain. Oxazepam was detected in blood and urine. Tetrahydrocannabinol (marihuana) was detected in blood. Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (marihuana) was detected in blood and urine.

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