NTSB Identification: SEA08LA160
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2008 in East Carbon, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/29/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N7360J
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 reported that while flying near the top of a canyon in cruise flight, the climb performance of the airplane began to decay, and it became difficult to maintain altitude. The pilot elected to continue the flight through the canyon, and as the performance further decayed, the airplane descended below the canyon rim. The pilot stated that he made "fairly steep turn" around the corners, losing altitude each time. At an altitude of approximately 200 feet above ground level, he decided to initiate a precautionary landing in an open area near the Green River. During the landing sequence, the airplane impacted several large rocks before it came to rest upright near the river where a post crash fire ensued, consuming the airplane. The pilot reported that at the time of the accident, there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane or engine. Using the recovered weather observations from a weather recording station located about 41 miles east of the accident site and the accident site elevation; the NTSB investigator-in-charge calculated the density altitude to be 6,708 feet msl. The pilot reported that at the time of the accident, he estimated the weight of the airplane to be 2,040 pounds. The certified maximum gross weight of the airplane is 2,150 pounds.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning and decision to continue flight into a canyon area with questionable aircraft performance. Contributing to the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for the precautionary landing and a high density altitude condition.

Full narrative available

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