NTSB Identification: WPR11LA461
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, September 22, 2011 in Wells, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2012
Aircraft: Bunker RLV-1, registration: N49S
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that his passenger wanted to take pictures of a mountain range about 5 miles from the departure airport. As the airplane neared the mountain range, which consisted of rolling tree-covered hills, the pilot turned into a valley. Proceeding up the valley, he realized that the airplane did not have sufficient altitude to outclimb the rising terrain and that turning around was not an option due to the higher terrain on both sides of the valley. The airplane subsequently impacted a 15-foot high tree, entered an uncontrolled descent, and impacted terrain, resulting in substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented had he gained altitude prior to entering the area of rising terrain. He reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot did not maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate in-flight planning.

Full narrative available

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