The pilot reported that, about 50′ above the ground during a “low recon” over a river bar near Bonners Ferry, Idaho, he did not see power lines crossing the river until they were about 10′ in front of the airplane.
The Cessna 172’s empennage struck the wires.
He added power and initiated a climb. He returned to the airport and landed without further incident.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to see and avoid power lines while maneuvering at a low altitude.
NTSB Identification: GAA18CA044
This November 2017 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.