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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 206592
Last updated: 17 September 2020
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Date:22-FEB-2018
Time:10:56
Type:Silhouette image of generic P32R model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: C-GYGY
C/n / msn: 32R7680182
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:between Grand Junction, CO and Albuquerque, New Mexico -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Grand Junction-Walker Field, CO (GJT/KGJT)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
The non-instrument rated private pilot intended to fly his single-engine airplane to an airport about 850 nm south of the departure airport. The day before the accident, the pilot and his three passengers departed and subsequently landed about 6 hours later at an intermediate airport about 260 nm short of their ultimate destination. The pilot requested a fuel top-off, and then the group left the airport to overnight in nearby lodging.

The accident flight departed the next morning about 0937, and there were no known communications between the airplane and any air traffic control facilities after departure. An overdue aircraft notice was issued that night in response to concerns raised by friends or family members of the occupants. The wreckage was located the following afternoon in flat open terrain about 85 nm south-southwest of the departure airport. All four occupants were fatally injured; occupant watches indicated that the time of the accident was about 1056, or about 79 minutes after takeoff.

Ground-based radar captured about 30 minutes of the mid portion of the flight; the final radar return was received about 23 minutes before the accident and depicted the airplane about 35 nm north-northwest of the accident site. The airplane was in a slow descent when the radar data ended, but there was about 2,500 ft between the radar coverage floor and the underlying terrain. The final radar return was at a radar-indicated altitude of 9,200 ft.

Calculations using estimated airplane cruise and wind speeds indicated that the airplane could have traveled about 53 nm during the time between the final radar return and the accident; this was about 22 nm more than the straight-line distance between that radar return and the accident site, suggesting that the pilot likely deviated from a direct route to his destination.

The debris field indicated that the airplane impacted the ground in a shallow descent with significant horizontal velocity, on a heading of approximately east. Examination of the airframe and engine accounted for all major components, indicated that the engine was producing power, and that the landing gear was retracted at the time of impact. The examination did not reveal evidence of any pre-impact mechanical deficiencies or failures.

A weather study revealed the potential for reduced ceilings and/or visibilities, including instrument meteorological conditions, in the area of the accident site around the time of the accident. Cloud bases were likely about 9,500 to 10,000 ft msl, and cloud top heights were about 26,600 ft. The forecast warned of convective snow bands, capable of reducing visibility to less than 1 mile, and lowering ceiling heights to a few hundred feet.

Toxicological testing of tissue samples from all four occupants did not reveal the presence of carbon monoxide in any of them. Toxicological testing identified diphenhydramine in tissue samples from the pilot. However, because the tissue sample type did not provide a reliable level of diphenhydramine in the pilot, a reliable determination of whether the pilot was impaired from the use of the sedating medication also could not be determined.

Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the pilot was attempting to maneuver the flight through a region of deteriorating ceiling and visibility conditions, during which he descended the airplane to an altitude where the airplane inadvertently collided with the underlying terrain.

Probable Cause: The noninstrument-rated pilot's continued flight into a region of deteriorating ceiling and visibility conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain event.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20180223X23016&key=1

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years 1 month
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
23-Feb-2018 19:37 gerard57 Added
23-Feb-2018 19:42 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Source, Embed code]
24-Feb-2018 00:09 Geno Updated [Time, Source]
24-Feb-2018 01:33 Geno Updated [Total fatalities, Source, Narrative]
24-Feb-2018 08:09 gerard57 Updated [Damage]
24-Feb-2018 08:15 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
19-Apr-2020 17:29 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]
19-Apr-2020 17:57 harro Updated [Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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