NTSB Identification: DEN89FA017.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 38146.
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 18, 1988 in GARFIELD, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/29/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N3913K
Injuries: 3 Fatal,2 Serious.

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.

A COMMERICAL PILOT/FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR ATTEMPTED FLIGHT WITH HIS FAMILY ACROSS THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS VIA MONARCH PASS. THE PLT SAID THAT HE THOUGHT HE HAD SUFFICIENT ALTITUDE AS HE APPROACHED THE PASS, BUT STRONG DOWNDRAFTS FORCED HIM TO ABANDON HIS COURSE. WHEN HE ATTEMPTED TO TURN, HIS AIRCRAFT LOST ALTITUDE UNTIL IT STRUCK TREES ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN. THE DENSITY ALTITUDE AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT WAS APPROXIMATELY 13,800 FEET. THE ELEVATION OF MONARCH PASS IS 11,200 FEET AND THE PLT STATED THAT HE CLIMBED UP TO 12,500 FEET BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO CROSS THE PASS. AUTHORITIES ON WEATHER FORMATIONS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION STATED THAT DOWNDRAFTS HAVE BEEN ENCOUNTERED AS HIGH AS 3000 FEET ABOVE MOUNTAINS.

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

WEATHER CONDITION..DOWNDRAFT

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

PROPER ALTITUDE..NOT ATTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..HIGH DENSITY ALTITUDE

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