NTSB Identification: WPR09CA193
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 13, 2009 in Dubois, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N945RH
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was following a highway to the northwest at 10,000 feet mean sea level. He crossed the mountain pass between 700 and 1,000 feet above ground level climbing slowly. Once on the west side of the pass, approaching the base of some cliffs, they encountered a strong down draft and the airspeed dropped rapidly and the airplane started to descend. The pilot reports that he attempted to keep the airspeed at 85 knots and climb but, that the airplane continued to lose altitude. He checked the engine instruments and did not note any degradation of engine performance. The airplane continued to descend. The pilot executed a forced landing in approximately the center of the valley ahead of them. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. Based on the temperature and pressure readings from the closest weather reporting station, the density altitude at the accident site was about 9,200 feet.

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

The pilot's encounter with a windshear/downdraft that exceeded the climb performance capabilities of the airplane.

Full narrative available

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