NTSB Identification: FTW99LA012.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Sunday, October 18, 1998 in EAGLE PASS, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/18/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 421C, registration: N19MH
Injuries: 5 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.

During takeoff climb, the twin-engine airplane encountered a strong downdraft and impacted trees and terrain. The pilot reported that while taxiing to the runway, he scanned the sky with the monochrome weather radar, which was set at the 40-mile range. 'No weather was shown behind the runway and a cell was shown 15 miles from the runway.' The takeoff roll was 'uneventful,' and the airplane was rotated at 95 knots. Climb out was accomplished at 110 knots, the engines were at maximum power, the propellers at maximum RPM, and the manifold pressure was indicating maximum. A 10-degree turn towards the Cotulla VOR was being made when at 1,500 feet msl, a sharp descent was felt with the VSI indicating an 800 ft/min rate of descent. The wings were leveled and the airspeed was slowed to 85 knots. 'The rate of descent slowed to 400 ft/min and then finally to 300 ft/min until impact...' The airplane was destroyed by fire that erupted on impact. A review of doppler weather radar images showed thunderstorms in the vicinity of the airport.

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

A downdraft, which exceeded the aircraft's climb performance. A factor was the thunderstorms in the vicinity of the airport.

Full narrative available

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