NTSB Identification: DEN00LA031.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 25, 1999 in SAN LUIS, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/30/2000
Aircraft: Luscombe 8E, registration: N1941B
Injuries: 1 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 approached the 12,560 foot mountain pass with 500 to 600 feet of clearance, but a 'strong downdraft forced me into the ground within 2 seconds; like a fly swatter.' He said that as he descended, his flight controls 'had no fell in them.' Rescue teams reached the pilot approximately 25 hours later. A pilot (with a glider rating), who reported flying within 5 miles of the accident site, said that there were lenticular clouds over the mountain all day, and the wind was blowing from east-southeast to west. A law enforcement officer said that he drove up the mountain as far as he could on the night of the accident, and the wind was blowing westward down the mountain 40 to 60 miles per hour (mph). The pilot said that the wind was 40 to 50 mph from the east. The computed density altitude was approximately 12,306 feet. The pilot said that he recommended that he should have 'possibly [flown] higher or not [have] attempt[ed] to fly over the ridge at all.'
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate in-flight decision, and the subsequent inadvertent stall/mush. Factors were the pilot's lack of total experience in mountain flying, the high density altitude, and downdraft weather conditions. Full narrative available
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