NTSB Identification: DEN00FA037.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 02, 2000 in TELLURIDE, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 421B, registration: N421CF
Injuries: 1 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.

The non-instrument rated private pilot departed Montrose, Colorado, southbound in a Cessna 421B. According to radar data, the airplane climbed from 14,300 to 16,600 feet msl at a rate of 1,792 fpm. The data shows that 19 seconds later, the airplane lost 4,000 feet of altitude, or descended at a rate of 12,631 fpm. The airplane then climbed back to 13,300 feet msl at a rate of 1,448 fpm, and then disappeared from radar. The airplane crashed in snow covered mountainous terrain. Snowmobilers, who were in the vicinity of the impact site at the time of the accident, said that snow showers made visibility less than 1/2 sm. A pilot departing Telluride Regional Airport (located 33 nm at 045 degrees from the crash site), on a heading of 300 degrees, at approximately 1015 said that it was clear right over Telluride. He said that as he climbed out, he got into weather at 12,000 feet msl, and didn't break out until 22,000 feet msl. He also said that he experienced no icing or turbulence during his climb out.

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

The non-instrument rated pilot's intentional flight into IMC, and his subsequent spatial disorientation that resulted in an inadvertent stall. A factor was the snow showers weather condition.

Full narrative available

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