When the Cessna 206 clipped the top of a tall pine tree moments after departing a rugged Idaho mountain airstrip, veteran flight instructor Art Lazzarini thought the stout, single-engine utility airplane would keep flying.

Then there was a second impact, and a third and fourth, and Lazzarini—who specializes in backcountry flight training and has logged more than 19,000 flight hours during 32 years flying the Mountain West—knew the airplane couldn’t stay aloft. The airplane’s owner was in the left seat and Lazzarini was administering a flight review in the right.

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