NTSB Identification: FTW02FA162.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 28, 2002 in Angel Fire, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corporation SR-20, registration: N901CD
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.

Prior to departure, the 1,350-hour pilot obtained a weather report from an employee of a local fixed base operator. The reported weather conditions at the time of departure were winds from 110 degrees at 10 knots, temperature of approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.28 inches of Mercury. The employee informed the pilot that the temperature reading was "from an instrument under a carport and therefore was in the shade." The employee observed the airplane takeoff without incident. Another witness observed the airplane fly overhead "really low at a relatively slow airspeed." The airplane impacted mountainous wooded terrain. All major structural components and flight control surfaces for the airplane were identified. Flight control continuity was established. The engine exhibited severe impact and fire damage. No anomalies were found that "would suggest any engine problem prior to the accident." The NTSB Investigator-In-Charge calculated the density altitude (DA) to be 10,136 feet MSL at the time of departure. The manufacturer, Cirrus Design, calculated the following performance figures: Takeoff Climb Gradient: 262 feet per nautical mile, Takeoff Rate of Climb: 406 feet per minute, Best Angle of Climb Airspeed (Vx): 80 kias = 93 ktas = 1.55 nautical miles per minute, Best Rate of Climb (Vy): 88 kias. With this data, the manufacturer calculated that if the airplane maintained a constant airspeed of 80 kias (Vx) after departure, it would have taken 4 minutes, 11 seconds to climb 1,700 feet. Further calculations revealed that at Vx, the airplane's approximate flight path would be 6.49 nautical miles.

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

The pilot's decision to continue the flight into the rising mountainous terrain, and subsequent failure to maintain clearance with the trees. Contributing factors were the rising mountainous terrain, and the high density altitude,

Full narrative available

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