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Incident Name: Fire reconnaissance flight
Date: 8/5/1980
Personnel: name no known; If you have a name, a news article, etc, please let us know.
Age: 43
Agency/Organization:
Position: aerial firefighter

Summary: The reconnaissance airplane, an Aero Commander 500B, departed from Salmon at 1515 local time to fly to McCall, Idaho. Witnesses saw the airplane enter a canyon at an abnormally low altitude. The airplane did not arrive at the destination. Discrepancies in flight-plan filing and follow-up procedures contributed significantly to a delay in initiating a search for the airplane. The wreckage was found at 1120 the next day. Severe turbulence and downdrafts exceeding 1,500 feet (458 meters) per minute were reported in the area at the time of the accident. The accident was attributed to the pilot’s misjudgment of distance, speed and altitude while flying in a blind canyon; high density altitude and downdrafts; and the pilot’s inexperience in flying multi-engine airplanes over mountainous terrain. (From the Flight Safety Digest, April, 1999 : Appendix, Fixed-wing Aircraft Accidents During U.S. Aerial Fire Fighting Operations, 1976–1998.)

 

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Maps

blind canyon near Salmon, Idaho

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, AAP and research by the WLF Staff:
    • 8/5/1980, 1530 hrs
    • 1 killed, name? (also 1 injured)
    • Operator: unknown
    • Type: Aero Commander 500B
    • Location: near Salmon, ID
    • FAA Registration # N184Z
    • NTSB # SEA80FA039
  • National Transportation Safety Board: Probable Cause (html)

    Collided with trees. The pilot in command - misjudged distance, speed and altitude; pilot in command -  improper in-flight decisions or planning. Miscellaneous acts, conditions: flew into blind canyon.

  • NTSB brief

    NTSB Report NTSB Report

  • For more information consult the NTSB online lookup Utility . Use NTSB Identification: SEA80FA039

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