NTSB Identification: DEN00LA002.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 01, 1999 in LA JUNTA, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N6406P
Injuries: 1 Serious,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.

The pilot and pilot-certificated passenger were on a return cross-country flight that originated from Washington, D.C., with a final destination of Lancaster, California. They departed Missouri earlier in the day, and had planned a stop in Colorado. While approaching Colorado's La Junta airport for landing, the aircraft encountered wind shifts, downdrafts and turbulent weather conditions. As the pilot turned onto final approach during one of several unsuccessful landing attempts, the aircraft impacted the ground at an elevation of 4,500 feet msl in dark night conditions.

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

The pilot-in-command's failure to maintain a proper altitude during final approach to landing, and his misjudgment of altitude clearances. Factors were the sudden windshift, downdraft and turbulent weather conditions, the dark night, and the pilot's lack of familiarity with the geographic area.

Full narrative available

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