NTSB Identification: FTW97LA297.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 03, 1997 in CREEDE, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Beech F33A, registration: N179DD
Injuries: 4 Serious.

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 pilot said he was using a WAC (1:1,000,000) chart instead of a sectional (1:500,000) chart for navigation, and thought he was at a safe altitude for the surrounding terrain. As he approached a saddle on a mountain ridge near the Continental Divide (which he thought was 11,500 feet MSL), he realized he was well below the summit. Surrounding terrain prevented him from turning around, so he applied full power in an attempt to climb above the summit. The airplane struck a rock ledge, skidded, and came to rest inverted against an embankment at the 12,200 foot level.

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

The pilot's intentional low altitude flight over mountainous terrain, inadequate altitude to clear surrounding obstacles, and his misjudging vertical clearance. A factor was the pilot's use of an inappropriate chart for navigation.

Full narrative available

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