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Crash of a Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage in Cortez

Date & Time: Sep 3, 2014 at 1238 LT
Registration:
N747TH
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cortez - Cortez
MSN:
46-36200
YOM:
1999
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
4000
Captain / Total hours on type:
2050.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
4184
Copilot / Total hours on type:
1648
Aircraft flight hours:
2900
Circumstances:
The accident occurred during a local instructional flight to satisfy the commercial pilot's annual insurance currency requirements in the accident airplane. The flight instructor reported that the pilot was demonstrating a simulated loss of engine power during initial climb and return for a downwind landing. During initial climb, upon reaching 1,200 ft above ground level (agl), the flight instructor reduced engine power to flight idle and feathered the propeller. In response, the pilot reduced airplane pitch and entered a left, 45-degree-bank turn back toward the airport. The flight instructor stated that, upon rolling wings level, the airplane appeared to be lower than he had expected as it glided toward the runway; however, he believed there was sufficient altitude remaining to safely land on the runway and told the pilot to continue without increasing the engine power. The flight instructor ultimately decided to abort the maneuver as the airplane crossed over the runway threshold at 40 ft agl. The flight instructor advanced the engine power lever to the full-forward position and increased airplane pitch to arrest the descent; however, he did not perceive an increase in engine thrust. Without an increase in engine thrust and with the increased pitch, the airplane's airspeed decreased rapidly, and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall about 30 ft above the runway. The airplane impacted the runway before sliding into a grassy area. The flight instructor reported that he did not recall advancing the propeller control when he decided to abort the maneuver, and, as such, the perceived lack of engine thrust was likely because the propeller remained feathered after he increased engine power. Additionally, the flight instructor postulated that the airplane's landing gear had not been retracted after takeoff, which resulted in a reduced climb gradient, and, as such, the airplane entered the maneuver farther away from the airport than anticipated. Further, with the landing gear extended, the airplane experienced a reduction in glide performance during the simulated forced landing. The flight instructor reported that the accident could have been prevented if he had maintained a safe flying airspeed after he took control of the airplane. Additionally, he believed that his delayed decision to abort the maneuver resulted in an insufficient margin of safety.
Probable cause:
The flight instructor's delayed decision to abort the simulated engine out maneuver, his failure to unfeather the propeller before restoring engine power, and his inadequate airspeed management, which led to an aerodynamic stall at low altitude.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 690A in Cortez: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jan 3, 2004 at 1212 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N700SR
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Mesa – Cortez
MSN:
690-11164
YOM:
1974
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1872
Captain / Total hours on type:
91.00
Aircraft flight hours:
7506
Circumstances:
The pilot executed the VOR approach to runway 21. He was heard to report passing the VORTAC outbound for the procedure turn, and crossing the VORTAC (final approach fix) inbound. Witnesses said they saw the airplane emerge from the overcast slightly high and fast. They said the airplane entered a steep left bank and turned about 90 degrees before disappearing in a snow shower northeast of the airport. They heard no unusual engine noises. Another witness near the accident site saw the airplane in a steep bank and at low altitude, "just above the power lines." Based on the witness location, the airplane had turned about 270 degrees. The witness said the wings "wobbled" and the nose "dipped," then the left wing dropped and the airplane descended to the ground "almost vertically." Members of the County Sheriff's Posse, who were at a gunnery range just north of the airport, reported hearing an airplane pass over at low altitude. One posse member said he heard "an engine pitch change." He did not see the airplane because it was "snowing heavily," nor did he hear the impact. An examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies. At the time of the accident, the weather at the destination airport was few clouds 300 feet, 900 feet broken, 3,200 feet overcast; visibility, 1/2 statute and snow; temperature, 32 degrees F.; dew point, 32 degrees F.; wind, 290 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots; altimeter, 29.71 inches.
Probable cause:
The pilot's inadequate planned approach and his failure to maintain airspeed which resulted in a stall. Contributing factors were low altitude flight maneuvering in an attempt to lose excessive altitude and realign the airplane for landing, and his failure to perform a missed approach, and the snow fall.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III near Cortez: 5 killed

Date & Time: Mar 29, 1991 at 1125 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N3851C
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Tucson - Cortez
MSN:
421C-0119
YOM:
1976
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
530
Captain / Total hours on type:
40.00
Circumstances:
The flight departed without a flight plan or weather brief. En route deteriorating weather was encountered and an IFR flight plan was filed to a revised destination. Clearance was received for a VOR approach and the pilot was advised of 1/2 mile visibility in snow and fog. A missed approach was reported over the unicom frequency. Impact occurred with a heading of about 170° at 7,700 feet msl in mountainous terrain on the 173° radial, 7.3 miles from the VOR. The inbound course to the final approach fix was 170° with an inbound final approach course of 196°. Airport elevation was 5,914 feet msl. The airport was located on the 196° radial, 5.5 miles from the VOR final approach fix. The VOR approach to runway 21 called for a missed approach to be executed at 5.5 DME from the VOR and a minimum descent altitude of 6,600 feet. All five occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper IFR procedures. Factors were: the existing weather conditions and the pilot's failure to obtain a preflight briefing.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 680FL in Monticello: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jun 2, 1983 at 1723 LT
Registration:
N271VT
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Cortez - Monticello
MSN:
680-1435-74
YOM:
1964
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
12200
Circumstances:
The aircraft crashed while doing magnetometer surveys at low altitude. The right engine had lost power then regained it for a short period and lost it again. A videotape in the aircraft recorded the pilot saying, 'I changed that # just in time.' the aircraft yawed and the propeller slowed at the same time. The fuel selector valves were found on the center tanks. The boost pump switches were found in the off position. When changing from outboard to center tanks the boost pumps must be on or fuel starvation will occur. As the aircraft slowed the tape revealed that the copilot called out 'down to 90'. 90 mph is VMC. The aircraft stalled, shortly after the asymmetrical thrust rolled the aircraft to the right and into the ground. Both occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Occurrence #1: loss of engine power (total) - nonmechanical
Phase of operation: cruise - normal
Findings
1. (f) fluid,fuel - starvation
2. (c) fuel tank selector position - delayed - pilot in command
3. (c) inattentive - pilot in command
4. (c) fuel boost pump selector position - not selected - pilot in command
5. (c) diverted attention - pilot in command
6. (c) in-flight planning/decision - improper - pilot in command
----------
Occurrence #2: loss of control - in flight
Phase of operation: cruise - normal
Findings
7. (c) airspeed (VMC) - not maintained - pilot in command
8. (c) stall - inadvertent - pilot in command
----------
Occurrence #3: in flight collision with terrain/water
Phase of operation: descent - uncontrolled
Final Report:

Crash of a Boeing 40B in Rocky Ridge: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 14, 1932
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
NC281
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
MSN:
892
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
Pilot decided to reduce his altitude while cruising in foggy conditions, probably to maintain visual contact with the ground. Aircraft hit a mountain slope and broke up in Rocky Ridge, south of Cortez. The pilot was killed.