July 18, Hamilton, Mont. / Ercoupe


At approximately 08:30 mountain time, an Ercoupe 415-D caught fire after a hard landing at Ravalli County Airport. The student pilot/owner died of burns about two days later. The flight is believed to have departed the pilots private airstrip near Missoula, Mont., about 20 minutes prior to the accident. Witnesses said the pilot was landing with a quartering tailwind and was established at a much lower altitude than would normally be expected. As the aircraft neared the runway, it appeared to witnesses to lose airspeed and drop onto the runway very hard. Almost immediately after contacting the runway, flames were seen coming from the belly of the aircraft near the firewall. By the time the aircraft came to a stop, most of the fuselage was in flames.


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