NTSB Identification: DEN02LA049.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 01, 2002 in Beaver, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-201, registration: N171M
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 stall warning was activating 15 knots higher than it was supposed to while the airplane was in a climb. The pilot advised ARTCC that he was experiencing wind shear. He was told there was no reported wind shear in the area and to maintain 13,000 feet. The pilot was unable to maintain 13,000 feet, and descended to 12,000 feet, then to the minimum en route altitude of 11,000 feet. Unable to maintain this altitude, the pilot descended to 10,500 feet, cancelled his IFR flight plan, and descended further to 9,500 feet, at which point radio communications with ARTCC were lost. The airplane was yawing and "the ball (turn coordinator) was in the right side." The pilot held "full right aileron deflection to keep the [air]plane from turning." He attempted to make a precautionary landing at an airport. A left crosswind aided in keeping the airplane on track, but he was "unable to use the rudder to straighten out the [air]plane to land." At 100 feet above the ground, the pilot attempted a go-around. With flaps up, landing gear down, and full power applied, the airplane would not climb but descended slowly instead. The pilot made a forced landing in an open field 1 mile south of the airport. In the ensuing landing, both wings were damaged, the aft portion of the fuselage was wrinkled, and the main gear was torn off. An inspection of the aircraft after the accident disclosed no anomalies with the flight control system or the engine. Flight control continuity was confirmed.

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

the pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain on which to make a forced landing. Contributing factors were mountain waves (wind shear) and crosswind.

Full narrative available

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