Mountain flier hit trees, NTSB says

November 12, 2009

Famed mountain flying instructor and author Sparky Imeson died earlier this year after crashing into trees during low-level flight, according to the final report by the NTSB.

The report, released Nov. 9, said in part: “A witness near the accident site reported observing a high-wing airplane similar to the accident airplane flying about 20 to 30 feet above the ground at a high rate of speed. The witness stated that the airplane was low enough to startle a herd of elk near the airplane’s flight path. The witness continued watching the airplane as it pitched up and to the left, making a 180-degree turn steep enough to allow him to see the tops of both wings. There were no known witnesses to the accident sequence. The wreckage was located near the base of a mountain range about two days later, after being the subject of a missing airplane alert notice. Accident site documentation of the ground scars, contact evidence on the trees, and impact damage to the airplane were indicative of a high-speed controlled flight collision with trees and, subsequently, the ground. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any pre-impact mechanical anomalies.”

Imeson had apparently returned to the scene of an accident he had two years earlier.

Al Marsh

Alton K. Marsh | "AOPA Pilot" Senior Editor, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.