NTSB Identification: FTW02LA063.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 09, 2002 in Durango, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N3535E
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot and his two friends were on a local mountain sightseeing flight. While flying over a canyon, the pilot commented to his passengers that "the flight was proceeding exactly as I had hoped and that our airspeed and rate of climb were both exactly where I wanted them to be (80 kias and 500 fpm)." While pointing out the terrain features to his passengers, the pilot noticed the airplane's altitude was lower than the canyon rim, and the climb rate and airspeed began to decrease. After the airplane's descent rate increased, he attempted to turn the airplane around and exit the canyon. While executing a turn to the right, the stall warning horn sounded, and the pilot decided to execute a precautionary landing to a clearing. During the ensuing precautionary landing, the airplane impacted trees and the terrain. The elevation at the accident site was 9,430 feet msl.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain clearance with the trees and mountainous terrain while maneuvering. A contributing factor was the pilot's delay in taking remedial action.

Full narrative available

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