NTSB Identification: WPR09FA200
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 18, 2009 in San Jose, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/22/2010
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7ECA, registration: N5174X
Injuries: 2 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 commercial pilot and private pilot rated passenger were on visual flight rules day cross-country flight within visual meteorological conditions on a generally direct course between the departure and destination airports. Review of recorded data from a hand held global positioning system (GPS) revealed that the flight departed and climbed to a cruise altitude. The flight continued at that altitude until entering a canyon with rising mountainous terrain surrounding the area. The recorded GPS data depicted a steady climb through the canyon at a rate less than the rate of terrain elevation rise, with decreasing airspeed at a constant rate. The end of the recorded data showed a climbing left turn near the accident site towards steep rising terrain. There were no known witnesses to the accident sequence. Examination of the wreckage and accident site revealed that impact damage signatures on the nose, wings, and fuselage were consistent with a stall and/or spin. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies were discovered with the engine or airframe.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering within a canyon in mountainous terrain, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin.

Full narrative available

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