NTSB Identification: FTW97LA236.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 26, 1997 in LEADVILLE, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N6306R
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

While on a cross-country ferry flight to deliver the aircraft to its new owner, the pilot attempted to fly through a mountain pass, which was 12,095 feet above mean sea level (msl). He climbed the aircraft to 12,000 feet msl and said the aircraft would not maintain speed or better than 2,350 engine rpm (2,600 rpm is maximum), and it settled at a rate of 75 to 150 feet per minute. The temperature at that altitude was 54 degrees Fahrenheit (F). A forced landing was made, and the aircraft nosed over and came to rest on its back. The pilot received minor injuries and hiked to the nearest road, where he obtained help and was taken to a local hospital. According to the aircraft climb performance chart, 12,000 feet msl and 54 degrees F is outside the chart limits, thus placing the aircraft outside the climb performance flight envelope. Following the accident and recovery of the aircraft, inspection of the engine revealed the engine could be operated. Two test runs were conducted, and the engine performed to its maximum capability for the temperature and altitude present at the time of the engine runs.

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

an attempt by the pilot to fly the aircraft over mountainous terrain in a regime that was beyond its climb performance limit. High density altitude was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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