NTSB Identification: DEN01FA018.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 30, 2000 in TAOS, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 182P, registration: N21390
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.

Before the VFR cross country flight departed, the pilot told a business associate that he would be deviating from a direct route to conduct some sightseeing. The airplane was observed to fly up a narrow canyon in the vicinity of a ski area, and witnesses last saw the airplane in a steep left turn towards the entrance to the canyon. The wreckage was later spotted against the canyon wall by telescope from the ski area. A state police helicopter that attempted to reach the scene was unable to enter the canyon due to down slope winds in excess of 50 knots. The accident site was on a 35-degree south facing slope at 11,300 feet msl on a 12,163-foot mountain. During examination of the airplane wreckage, no pre-impact engine or airframe anomalies that might have affected the airplane's performance were identified.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain terrain clearance while maneuvering in a narrow canyon. Contributing factors were the down slope winds in excess of 50 knots and the pilot's improper decision to enter the canyon given the wind conditions.

Full narrative available

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