NTSB Identification: FTW96LA035.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 01, 1995 in LLANO, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/1996
Aircraft: HELIO HT-295, registration: N68889
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor,2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE AIRPLANE DEPARTED FROM THE GRASS STRIP FOR A LOCAL FLIGHT AROUND THE RANCH. THE PILOT SELECTED 30 DEGREES OF FLAPS, AND THE AIRPLANE BECAME AIRBORNE PRIOR TO REACHING THE MIDFIELD POINT OF THE 2,600-FOOT RUNWAY. HE STATED THAT THE AIRPLANE CLIMBED TO APPROXIMATELY 100 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND AND THE CLIMB SUBSIDED UNTIL THE AIRPLANE NEARLY LEVELED OFF AS THE AIRPLANE WAS HEADED TOWARDS RISING TERRAIN. HE RETRACTED THE FLAPS TO 20 DEGREES TO IMPROVE THE CLIMB PERFORMANCE. HE MAINTAINED CONTROLLED FLIGHT AS HE MANAGED TO AVOID THE LARGER TREES WHILE LOOKING FOR AN OPEN AREA. CONTROL WAS LOST AS THE PILOT SLOWED THE AIRPLANE PRIOR TO IMPACTING TREES. A 10 TO 20 KNOT HEADWIND PREVAILED AND THE PILOT STATED THAT A DOWNDRAFT WAS 'CREATED BY THE OROGRAPHIC EFFECT OF THE WIND BLOWING OVER THE RIDGE LINE.' SEVERAL WORKERS AT THE RANCH WITNESSED THE AIRPLANE 'ATTEMPTING TO CLIMB IN THE DIRECTION OF RISING TERRAIN WITHOUT GAINING ALTITUDE.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

THE PILOT'S ENCOUNTER WITH A DOWNDRAFT AND HIS INABILITY TO OUTCLIMB RISING TERRAIN. FACTORS WERE THE RISING TERRAIN AND HIGH WINDS.

Full narrative available

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