Howe 4/28/96 Pioneer Peak Flying
Man Dies In Plane Crash
A 39-year-old Chugiak man died Sunday afternoon when his two-seater airplane crashed into the side of Pioneer Peak, near the Butte area. Scott E. Howe was alone in the 1976 Cessna 150, according to Alaska State Troopers. A search for Howe's plane began about 4 p.m. Sunday after the Air National Guard Rescue Coordination Center at Fort Richardson picked up a signal from an emergency locator beacon. Civil Air Patrol volunteers flew over the Butte area and confirmed the signal was coming from there, but couldn't determine precisely where, according to Capt. D. Howard Yager. A ground crew was used to pinpoint the location. The crash site was found about 10 p.m. at the 800-foot level of Pioneer Peak. The plane crashed into a thickly forested ridge, but did not catch fire. An Air National Guard helicopter was called and removed the body. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. ''As far as we know, weather conditions were good, but there were localized rain showers,'' said NTSB investigator George Kobelnyk.
On April 28, 1996, approximately 1300 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Cessna 150 airplane, N8115U, registered to and operated by the pilot, collided with trees on a mountain side near Palmer, Alaska. The personal flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, departed Birchwood, Alaska, and the destination was unknown. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The preliminary on scene investigation showed that the airplane crash path aligned with 242 degrees magnetic. The wreckage was located on a small wooded ridge at an elevation of 800 feet above mean sea level. All major components and flight controls were located at the accident site.
Probable Cause Report
According to information provided by the pilot's family, the pilot went for a local flight prior to a planned church service at 1100. A property owner near the accident site heard the sound of an airplane approaching, a "small explosion," and the sound of an impact at 0811. He said the engine sounded normal until he heard the "small explosion." Examination of the engine revealed that the left and right magnetos were defective. Bench tests showed a malfunction with each magneto. The airplane had received an annual inspection 40 months prior to the accident. The records showed that the pilot's medical certificate had expired and that he was 28 months overdue for a biennial flight review. An examination of the accident site showed that the accident site was in the shadow of a mountain. The surrounding area showed that a forced landing area was located one-half mile away on a bearing of 320 degrees from the accident site.
Loss of engine power due to a malfunction of the airplane's magneto ignition system, and the pilot's failure to have an annual inspection performed. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's lack of recent experience and inadequate in-flight planning and decision.