NTSB Prelim report for Salmon Air Crash

NTSB Identification: SEA05FA025
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, December 06, 2004 in Bellevue, ID
Aircraft: Cessna 208B, registration: N25SA
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 6, 2004, about 1020 mountain standard time, a Cessna 208B, N25SA, registered to Spirit Air Inc., operated by Mountain Bird Inc., doing business as Salmon Air, as a 14 CFR Part 135, commercial cargo flight under contract with United Parcel Service, collided with flat open terrain located about seven miles south of Bellevue, Idaho. The flight was designated as Mountain Bird 1860. Visual 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-in-command and another company airline transport pilot that was on board for the purpose of transportation to his home base and had no flight crew responsibilities were fatally injured. The flight originated from Salt Lake City, Utah, about one hour prior to the accident and was destined for Friedman Memorial (SUN), Hailey, Idaho.

Air traffic communications indicated that Mountain Bird 1860 was cleared for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 31 approach to SUN. At 1006, the flight contacted SUN tower controller reporting their position as 16 miles south of the airport. At 1016, the flight reported their position as two miles south of WTSOX intersection, followed by a position report of two miles south of LIBYO intersection at 1020. At 1020:18, the controller cleared the flight to land and asked the pilot if he had the airport in sight. The pilot reported “negative, still IMC (instrument meteorological conditions).” There were no further communications with the flight after this time.

The wreckage was located in an open flat field at 43 degrees 21.933′ north latitude, 114 degrees 13.774′ west longitude. The terrain elevation was 4,900 feet mean sea level.

A witness to the accident reported that he heard the aircraft first then saw it at a low level flying in a southeasterly direction. The witness stated that the right wing was low as the aircraft continued to descend. The witness then noted that the wings rocked back and forth a couple of times before the nose of the aircraft dropped near vertical to the terrain. This witness reported hearing the sound of the engine running steady throughout the event.

Another witness in the area reported only hearing the sound of the engine accelerate before hearing a “big boom.”

The pilot of a Cessna Citation 525, who flew the same approach to SUN about 20 minutes prior to the accident aircraft reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge that during the approach, his aircraft was picking up moderate mixed ice on the wings and windshield.

At 0945, the SUN surface weather observation was reporting the weather as calm winds. Visibility was six miles with light snow and mist. The sky conditions were scattered at 2,000 feet, broken at 4,500 feet and overcast at 6,000 feet. The temperature was 7 degrees C, and the dewpoint was 10 degrees C. The altimeter was 29.71″ Hg.

At 1045, the conditions were the same except for the temperature had dropped to 6 degrees C, and the dewpoint was 9 degrees C. The altimeter was 29.73″ Hg.

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