NTSB Identification: WPR11FA005
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 08, 2010 in Panguitch, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N8437A
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 employer of the pilot and passenger reported to local authorities that they had not returned from a presumed elk-spotting flight for an upcoming hunting trip. The wreckage was subsequently located in a remote canyon area in rising mountainous terrain at an elevation of 9,600 feet. There were no witnesses to the accident; however, pilots flying in the area that afternoon noted that it was too windy to fly below the ridgeline and tree movement was visible; the sky was clear. The calculated density altitude for the area was 11,178 feet. Based on the final location and heading of the airplane, it is likely that the pilot may have attempted to maneuver at a low altitude in the canyon and was unable to maintain clearance from terrain in the windy conditions and high density altitude. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot's decision to conduct a low-level flight into a canyon in windy conditions at a high density altitude, which resulted in a collision with trees and terrain.

Full narrative available

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