NTSB Identification: DEN99FA157.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 01, 1999 in VILLA GROVE, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/02/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N4366D
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

An FBI pilot, along with two other special agents in separate airplanes, was receiving agency-sponsored mountain flying instruction. His instructor announced that they were going to practice box canyon turnarounds. Shortly thereafter, white smoke was seen coming from the side of the mountain. Evidence indicates the airplane struck tree tops while in a steep left descending turn in what was described as an extremely tight box canyon.

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

The flight instructor's improper inflight decision to enter a narrow blind/box canyon, and his misjudgment of the vertical and lateral clearances. A factor was the downdrafts.

Full narrative available

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