NTSB Identification: LAX02FA018.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 30, 2001 in Mt. Charleston, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Cessna P210N, registration: N734VM
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 pilot lost control of his airplane while cruising at 16,000 feet in instrument meteorological conditions. The airplane entered a spin and impacted the ground at 7,100 feet mean sea level. An examination of the airplane wreckage did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions. About 1 hour prior to departure the pilot had received a weather briefing. The briefer advised the pilot that there was an AIRMET along his proposed route of flight. The AIRMET forecast was for occasional moderate turbulence from the surface to 16,000 feet, and indicated occasional moderate icing in clouds and precipitation from the 12,000 foot freezing level up through 24,000 feet. The airplane was not equipped or certificated for flight into known icing conditions. While en route at 16,000 feet, with an average ground speed of 155 knots, the pilot encountered downdrafts. The pilot broadcast to the radar controller that he was "unable to maintain this altitude with this downdraft," requested permission to descend to 15,000 feet, and was cleared to descend. Recorded radar data indicated that the airplane's course changed from northwesterly to southeasterly, and then northeasterly, while its ground speed gradually decreased to 61 knots. The airplane's last recorded radar position was at 8,800 feet, and the airplane impacted into the underlying terrain within a 50-foot radius of this location. About 2 hours thereafter, another pilot reported experiencing severe turbulence while descending from 16,000 to 13,000 feet over the accident site vicinity.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed after continuing flight into forecast adverse meteorological conditions consisting of turbulence, icing, and downdrafts, which resulted in a stall/spin.
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