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Incident Name:  Hoyt Fire in NV
Date: 8/20/2009, 1545 hours
Personnel: David Jamsa from Missoula, MT
Age: 45
Agency/Organization: Minuteman Aerial Application, Inc., of Missoula, Montana under contract with the Bureau of Land Management, out of the BLM's McDermitt SEAT base.
Position: aerial firefighter

Summary: A single engine air tanker (SEAT) piloted by David Jamsa crashed in the Clan Alpine Mountains of Churchill County, NV on 8/20/09 while dropping fire retardant on the Hoyt Fire. Dave Jamsa, was transported by helicopter to medical facilities in Lovelock, Nevada, where he was pronounced dead. The aircraft was an Air Tractor AT-802A, owned by Minuteman Aerial Application, Inc, of Missoula, MT.

David Jamsa inspecting his plane David Jamsa inspecting his plane
David Jamsa David Jamsa

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Incident Location: Clan Alpine Mountains, Churchill County Nevada (USNG: 11S ME 5213 0805)

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Sierra Front IDC Press Release

    A Type II Incident Management Team has been ordered for the NV-CCD-Hoyt Fire. A single engine air tanker (SEAT) working the Hoyt Fire this afternoon (8/20) has crashed. The pilot has been transported to a nearby medical facility. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been notified.

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, USFS, and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 8/20/2009, SEAT (Single Engine Air Tanker)
    • 1 killed: David Jamsa
    • Operator: Minuteman Aerial Application, Inc., of Missoula, Montana under contract with the BLM
    • Type: AIR TRACTOR AT-802A
    • Location: Clan Alpine Mountains, Churchill County, near Austin, Nevada
    • FAA Registration # N807MA
    • NTSB # WPR09GA407
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Factual Report (102 K pdf)
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html) Probable cause brief

    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

    The pilot’s failure to maintain a stabilized approach prior to the retardant drop and his subsequent failure to release the retardant load, resulting in a stall/mush and collision with terrain.

  • NTSB: Full Narrative (html)
  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: WPR09GA407
  • SEAT NV-CCD-Hoyt Fire SEAT NV-CCD-Hoyt Fire

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Media Articles and Reports

  • Missoula pilot killed in Nevada tanker crash identified; donation fund established

    August 21, 2009 | Online Article

    A Missoula-area pilot died Thursday when his single-engine air tanker plane crashed while dropping retardant on a forest fire 125 miles northeast of Reno, Nev.

    The pilot's name was Dave Jamsa, 45. He had worked at Minuteman Aerial Applications Inc. for four years. The company is a sister corporation of Minuteman Aviation Inc., based at Missoula International Airport. Jamsa had a wife and four children in Missoula.

    "He was trying to make his drop when he crashed," Minuteman director of operations Forrest Gue said Friday morning. "We're doing everything we can to find out why it happened."

    Jamsa's plane was one of six SEAT planes working on the Hoyt Fire on Thursday, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesman Mark Struble. The 2,000-acre fire is burning in pinon-juniper trees, sagebrush and grass, and is about 5 percent contained.

    "SEATs are used quite a bit by BLM in this country," Struble said on Friday. "They carry a load that seems to work really well with our kind of fires. They can get into much tighter country, and lower, than the multi-engine bombers."

    The crash happened about 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Jamsa was airlifted from the crash site to medical facilities in Locklock, Nev., where he was pronounced dead. No one else was injured in the crash.

    The plane was an Air Tractor AT-802A, one of four Minuteman Aerial Applications operates out of Missoula. It is a modified crop-duster carrying 800 gallons of retardant and a single pilot. Minuteman has used the planes for firefighting since 1999.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is sending investigators to study the crash. No other Minuteman or affiliated aircraft are affected by the review,... More at link

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Funeral arrangements info for David Jamsa:

    MISSOULA - David McKay Jamsa, 44, passed away on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009, in Lovelock, Nevada.

    A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 3201 Bancroft St, Missoula MT.

  • David McKay Jamsa Obituary
  • USFA Memorial Database: David M. Jamsa

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