NTSB Identification: FTW01TA194.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 23, 2001 in Van Horn, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N91187
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The border patrol pilot was performing routine patrol duties over rolling terrain at an estimated altitude of about 500 feet above ground level. While making a right turn and crossing a ridge, "the bottom fell out." The pilot applied full power and leveled the wings in order to recover; however, his actions were not sufficient to arrest the rate of descent and the airplane impacted the next ridge line. Examination of the airframe and engine after the accident did not reveal any anomalies that could have prevented normal flight operations. The calculated density altitude at the time of the accident was approximately 7,428 feet.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an inadvertent stall. A factor contributing to the accident was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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