Well-known mountain-flying instructor, lecturer, and author Sparky Imeson was found dead in the wreckage of his Cessna 180 by searchers on Thursday morning, March 19. Two days earlier he had departed Bozeman, Mont., on a one-hour flight to Helena, Mont., but did not arrive at his destination. A radar track of his flight ended about 18 miles north of Bozeman.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton confirmed that Imeson was piloting the aircraft registered to Mountain Flying LLC of Helena.
An aerial search March 17 failed to find the airplane or an emergency locator transmitter signal, and an extensive search March 18 also was unsuccessful. The Helena Independent Record reported that snow cover on the ground hampered the search for the mostly white airplane. Imeson and another pilot survived a crash in the Elkhorn Mountains in June 2007.
“It’s difficult to find the right words to convey the sense of loss the Montana aeronautics community will experience,” said Debbie Alke of the Montana Aeronautics Division. “Sparky Imeson was a colleague and a friend to so many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and our gratitude to all who have helped us find him.”
Imeson's Mountain Flying Bible is regarded as one of the most authoritative books on the topic. It is highlighted as an information resource in AOPA Pilot's April 2009 Mountain Flying Adventure feature.