NTSB Identification: DEN00FA136.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 18, 2000 in MOAB, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/18/2001
Aircraft: Grumman American AA-5, registration: N7161L
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.
The 21 year old private pilot received his certificate 16 days before the accident, and had logged about 150 total flight hours, 67 hours in type. His 44 year old pilot rated passenger was a local charter pilot and said to be thoroughly familiar with the surrounding terrain. Both pilots were avid 'BASE jumpers' (parachuting off of Bridges, Antennas, Structures, and Earth). The purpose of the flight was to scout for possible jump sites. The elevation at the airport was 4,553 feet msl, and the temperature was 93.2 degrees F. The computed density altitude was 7,407 feet msl. The airplane wreckage was found 5 days later on a talus slope at a 'Y' between two canyons at an elevation of 4,275 feet msl, or 145 feet above the floor of the canyon. The floor of the canyon was 4,130 feet msl, and the top of the canyon was at 5,243 feet msl. Examination of the accident site indicated the pilot was attempting to reverse course out of the canyon when the airplane impacted terrain. According to BLM personnel, temperatures in the canyons are considerably higher than at the airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot in command exercising poor judgment and exceeding the aircraft's turning capability. Contributing factors were the pilots' attention being diverted, flying into a known blind canyon, high temperature, and high density altitude. Full narrative available
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