NTSB Identification: ANC09CA060
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 06, 2009 in Sutton, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2009
Aircraft: BELLANCA 8GCBC, registration: N29785
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 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 private pilot made a personal cross-country flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91 in mountainous terrain. He said that as the airplane passed near an area of steep terrain, he encountered a strong downdraft, and the airplane began to descend. He added full engine power to stop the descent, but the airplane continued to descend, and it impacted an area of down sloping tundra-covered terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, wings, and empennage. He characterized wind on the ground as light and variable, but reported encountering stronger winds just before the accident. The pilot indicated that there were no preaccident mechanical problems with the airplane, and noted in his report to the NTSB that the accident might have been avoided if he had been flying at a higher altitude, which would have provided more altitude for a recovery.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane after an in-flight encounter with a downdraft in mountainous terrain, and his decision to fly at an altitude where such an encounter made a successful recovery unlikely. Full narrative available
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