Perilous Peaks

Perilous Peaks 2

Most people don't know this, but there are at least six small aircraft wrecks in the Black Mountain Range, home of Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in Eastern North America.

All the ones I'm familiar with are small Cessna type planes like this one. Some crashed into the mountain due to weather, and at least one set down under control after a mechanical problem. The pilot and passenger in that one both survived. Most others were not so fortunate.

It isn't too hard to fathom why there are so many. Most of these planes fly below 5,000 ft in unregulated airspace. Most of the Black Mountain range is over 6,000 ft in elevation and often obscured in clouds.

The saddest part of the story, perhaps, is that both of the crash sites I've been to so far are only fifty feet below the ridge line. A little bit more altitude and they probably would have made it.

I'm currently trying to find out more about the history of some of these incidents and hope to locate all the wrecks. If you know anything please let me know.


Perilous Peaks 1

5 comments:

It's all dicta to me said...

My father died in a plane crash in this area on April 25, 1992. He was in a Bellanca 17-30A. Once description of the plane indicates that it had mustard, burgundy, and green markings on it. Your picture shows a mustard color. Do you by any chance have any additional pictures showing a tail number? I've never been to the site before, but have a need to see the site of the accident.

Benjamin Goff said...

I believe this crash is a Cessna. Three Cessnas crashed into the mountian between 1973-76, according to FAA records. I'm not sure which one this is.

This site is at about 6,200 ft elevation just North of the Mount Craig summit. It is visible from the trail.

I hiked ot one other site at about 6,500 ft elevation just East of the summit of Mount Mitchell itself. I don't have any photos of this wreck, unfortunalty, and don't know what make and model it is.

I searched for another wreck near Clingman's Peak, but never found it.

There are no visible markings remaining on the wreckage as best I can tell. I'm sure someone knows which plane is where, but I wasn't ablet to track down those details.

It's all dicta to me said...

Thanks so much for this information. I truly appreciate it.

Unknown said...

I have been to the bellanca Viking crash on mount Mitchell. I may be able to get coordinates if you want them.

Ivan Roldan said...

I'd be interested in the Bellanca crash site coordinates, if you don't mind getting them.