NTSB Identification: DEN02FA106.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 14, 2002 in Delta, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Beech B19, registration: N5119R
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 airplane had recently undergone a pre-purchase annual inspection. The operator had purchased the airplane from a private individual, and the pilot had volunteered to ferry it to its new owner as a means of accumulating flight time. The previous owner flew the airplane the previous day and reported no discrepancies. The airplane was then serviced to its 60-gallon capacity. On the morning of the accident, the pilot taxied to the end of the runway and performed pretakeoff checks. Witnesses said the magneto checks sounded normal, albeit brief. As takeoff power was applied, the engine "began to pop, stutter, and sputter," and "continued to do so the entire length of the runway." The engine was "producing less than full power, about 1,700 to 1,800 rpm," and the airplane was "not accelerating." The airplane lifted off near the end of the 5,600-foot runway (1.5 percent uphill grade), flew in ground effect and barely cleared sagebrush and a barbed wire perimeter fence. The left wing dipped and the airplane disappeared below the mesa and into a valley. The airplane struck the ground next to a golf course, exploded, and burned. A family relative said that the pilot had never flown into or out of high elevation airports, and was unsure of what to expect. The pilot's toxicology was positive for diazepam, a tranquilizer. Valium, its generic name, is a tranquilizer and may cause drowziness. It is contraindicated for flying.

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

the pilot's failure to properly plan and compensate for the high density altitude conditions, resulting in partial engine power during takeoff, his failure to abort the takeoff, and his failure to maintain aircraft control on initial climb. Contributing factors were the high density altitude conditions, the pilot's total lack of experience in flying in these conditions, and an inadvertent stall/mush.

Full narrative available

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