NTSB Identification: CEN09CA302
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 16, 2009 in Gallup, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415-C, registration: N94300
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 and passenger departed in a single-engine, 85-horsepower airplane from an airport with a density altitude that was later calculated to be about 8,666 feet. When the airplane was approximately 300 feet above ground level, the airplane experienced a loss of lift. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot selected a dirt road as a possible landing site; however, the airplane impacted terrain before reaching the road. The airplane came to rest in an upright position and the pilot and passenger were able to exit the airplane unassisted. An examination of the engine revealed no pre impact anomalies.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning. Contributing to the accident was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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