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Preliminary NTSB Report: USFS Beech 58P crash

by Chris Sorensen |

NTSB Identification: SEA04LA029
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 22, 2003 in Missoula, MT
Aircraft: Beech 58P, registration: N181AM
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On December 22, 2003, at 2000 mountain standard time, a Beech 58P, N181AM, registered to Ridgeaire Inc., operated by the U.S. Forest Service as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, collided with an above ground irrigation system shortly after takeoff from Missoula International Airport, Missoula, Montana. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed by impact damage and a post-crash fire. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries, while the certificated commercial second pilot was not injured. The flight was departing from Missoula to Redmond, Oregon.

A representative of the U.S. Forest Service reported that the pilot stated that they had departed from runway 11 on a standard instrument departure. The flight made a turn over the VOR. The pilot recalls that the aircraft was about 400 feet above ground level and 130 knots when the crew heard a "thump." The pilot leveled the wings and the aircraft subsequently collided with an open pasture. A post-crash fire consumed the wreckage.