The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report on the accident that claimed the life of Steve Fossett.
The board determined that the aircraft, a Bellanca 8KCAB-180 (N240R) struck mountainous terrain near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., following an inadvertent encounter with downdrafts that exceeded the climb capability of the airplane.
On Sept. 3, 2007, Fossett never returned after departing Flying M Ranch, a private airport near Yerington, Nevada, on a flight to scout locations for another record attempt.
A month-long search by the Civil Air Patrol, state and county authorities, and his friends failed to find the aircraft.
On Oct. 7, 2008, a hiker found some of the Fossett’s personal effects. “Once these items were found, the Safety Board launched a team to conduct the on-scene phase of the investigation,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker.
An aerial search located the airplane wreckage about a half mile from the pilot’s personal effects, at an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet.
On the day of the accident, no emergency radio transmissions were received from the pilot, nor were any emergency locator transmitter signals received. After the wreckage was discovered, a review of radar data from September 2007 revealed a track that ended about 1 mile northwest of the accident site.
The full report is available on the NTSB website.