Accident Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain C-FZBW,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 27249
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Date:Thursday 15 January 1998
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain
Owner/operator:Airco Aircraft Charters
Registration: C-FZBW
MSN: 31-8152096
Year of manufacture:1981
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 9
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:3 miles W of Rainbow Lake, McKenzie County, Alberta -   Canada
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Rainbow Lake, Alberta (YOP/CYOP)
Destination airport:Edmonton, Alberta (YXD/CYXD)
Investigating agency: TSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The Airco Aircraft Charters Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain, serial number 31-8152096, had been chartered by Northern Sky Aviation to complete a daily passenger flight from the Edmonton City Centre Airport to High Level, Rainbow Lake, Edmonton, and Calgary, Alberta. The flight from Edmonton to High Level and Rainbow Lake was uneventful. Following a routine landing and turn around, the aircraft departed Rainbow Lake in darkness, at 19:35 mountain standard time (MST) on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight to Edmonton.

Shortly after take-off from runway 27, the aircraft collided with trees and terrain approximately 3 000 feet west of the departure end of the runway. The nine occupants sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged. Immediately following the evacuation of the aircraft, a Rainbow Lake passenger initiated the local emergency response by cell phone.

Volunteer ground rescue personnel organized a snowmobile search, and a helicopter was dispatched from the airport to conduct an aerial search. The ground search was hampered by darkness, dense forest, cold temperatures, and deep snow. The helicopter pilot located the aircraft wreckage on his first pass over the departure corridor and, following his immediate return to the airport, he lead the ground rescuers to the accident site. Rescuers reached the accident site approximately one and one-half hours after the occurrence and assisted all of the survivors to the Rainbow Lake nursing station.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TSB
Report number: A98W0009
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Download report: Final report


1. CADORS Number:1998C0031
2. TSB Aviation Occurrence Report A98W0009 at

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
06-May-2015 02:43 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
22-Jun-2015 00:56 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Nature, Departure airport, Source]
22-Jun-2015 00:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Narrative]
14-Oct-2017 19:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]

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