NTSB Identification: DEN03FA059.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 26, 2003 in Grand Junction, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N53008
Injuries: 4 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 wind was from 230 to 280 at 24 knots when the pilot taxied for an intersection takeoff from runway 29. The tower controller said that during the takeoff roll, the airplane drifted off the right side of the runway and stirred up a cloud of dust. Other witnesses saw the dust cloud, but thought it was due to propeller wash or a wind gust. Immediately after liftoff, the airplane "took on a pronounced crab to the left into the wind." The pilot remarked, "Well, that was gustier than I thought, guys." The controller replied, "...looks pretty rough up there." As the airplane flew away the controller remarked, "Sure does not look like an attractive flight this evening." The pilot answered, "No, but it is time to go home." Nearby workmen said that on the evening of the accident, there was scattered rain showers of moderate intensity in the area. The airplane was found 2 days later. No discrepancies were noted during the wreckage examination. The airplane was certificated in the restricted category, and approved for "agriculture and pest control" operations. Only the two front seats were installed in the airplane. The rear two seats had been removed and were later found in the pilot's hangar. In addition to the pilot, there were three passengers aboard.

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

the pilot's poor judgment and his failure to maintain aircraft control. Contributing factors were the high winds and downdrafts, and the pilot's self-induced pressure to go home.

Full narrative available

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