Discovery of the Steve Fossett crash site
Date: 7 September 2007
Location: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Aircraft: Bellanca Decathlon, registration N240R
On September 3rd, 2007, adventurer Steve Fossett took off from Yerington, Nevada on a short flight in a Bellanca Super Decathlon, and went missing. After more than a year, a hiker found some of his personal effects high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California on September 29, 2008. Two days later, authorities spotted wreckage from his aircraft. Possible human remains were also found at the site.
The aircraft crashed into a steep granite slope at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, seven miles west of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California. The crash site is about 93 miles or 150 kilometers south of Yerington, Nevada. Pieces of the plane were scattered over a steeply sloped area, with the engine about 300 feet from the fuselage wreckage. There was also evidence of a post crash fire. Fossett was the only occupant.
About Steve Fossett
According to an earlier NTSB report, Fossett's most recent medical certificate was completed seven months before his final flight. At that time, he had over 6,700 hours of flight experience, with 350 hours in the previous six months. He was certified as an airline transport pilot, and was also certified to fly a balloon, helicopter, seaplane, and glider.
He had set over 100 records in five different sports, including over 90 in aviation. Among those aviation records was the first solo nonstop flight around the world in an aircraft, as well as the first solo round the world balloon flight. Outside of aviation, he had also sailed around the world and swam across the English Channel.
About the Bellanca Decathlon
The accident aircraft was a Bellanca Decathlon, a two-seat, single engine aerobatic aircraft. That model was produced between 1970 and 1981, and the accident aircraft was manufactured in 1980. According to the NTSB, between 1973 and 2008 there have been 105 Decathlon accidents, with 80 resulting in fatalities.
The NTSB has sent a team to investigate the crash, and is headed by the NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. In the official report of Fossett's accident, the NTSB determined the pilot’s inadvertent encounter with downdrafts that exceeded the climb capability of the airplane.
Below are links to several formats of the podcast associated with this event, as well as an embedded video podcast.
Report on the Fossett crash
http://airsafe.com/events/celebs/fossett.htm -- Revised: 1 May 2017