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Incident Name: Snake River Fires, summer of Yellowstone Fires
Date: 9/11/1988
Personnel: Donald Kuykendall of Ashland, OR
Age:  46
Agency/Organization: Southern Oregon Airways under contract with the US Forest Service
Position: pilot

Summary:  Donald Kuykendall, the pilot, was returning to Redding, CA after dropping off two passengers at he Jackson Hole, Wyoming airport. The night was very dark with a 2000 foot overcast and no visible horizon. It had been a long day of flying. Pilot Kuykendall's takeoff was normal, but as the aircraft turned from crosswind to downwind, it made a few extreme up and down maneuvers and he had trouble controlling the aircraft. The next time the aircraft was observed, it was climbing and descending rapidly. It impacted the ground in a vertical dive, killing Don Kuykendall.

 

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Maps

Jackson Hole WY Airport

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, USFS, WFF and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 9/11/1988, 2157 hrs
    • 1 killed: Donald Kuykendall
    • Operator: Southern Oregon Airways under contract with the US Forest Service
    • Type: BEECH 200, King Air
    • Location: on takeoff from Jackson Hole, WY airport
    • FAA Registration # N1283
    • NTSB # DEN88FA202, microfiche number 37868
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Factual Report (pdf)
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause -brief (html)

    Pilot in command: Altitude uncontrolled; planning/ decision-making poor; improper use of flight controls. Factors in the accident: dark night, fatigue of the pilot (flight schedule)

  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility Use NTSB Identification: DEN88FA202
  • From the USDA Forest Service Fatal Aviation Accident History (1974-2002) pages 100-101
  • Flight Safety Foundation (flightsafety.org): Flight Safety Digest, Vol 18, No. 4, April 1999, US Aerial Firefighting Accidents Involving Fixed Wing Aircraft 1976-1998 (218 K pdf)
  • From the National Park Service 6/11/07: History of Wildland Fire in Yellowstone
  • The Yellowstone Timeline: 1988 (with mention of the Snake Fire and Clover Mist Fires)
  • USFS Heroes Memorial: Donald B. Kuykendall

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

 

 

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Media Articles and Reports

Donald Kuykendall Donald Kuykendall

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

Photo Credit: Jim Peaco, Yellowstone National Park, 8/19/1988

Smoke from the Yellowstone Fires, Absaroka Range, 1988

Smoke from the Yellowstone Fires, Absaroka Range Smoke from the Yellowstone Fires, Absaroka Range

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Contributors to this article:  Mellie

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