NTSB Identification: WPR12CA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 08, 2012 in Sula, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N2839T
Injuries: 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 pilot reported that the airplane was in cruise flight between 2,000 and 2,500 feet above ground level over mountainous terrain when it encountered a strong downdraft. At full power and at the airplane’s best rate of climb, it was descending 1,500 feet per minute. The pilot stated that he could not turn left because of a mountain and that he was afraid that turning right would result in a greater loss of altitude and a collision with trees. When he was sure that he was not going to clear the terrain, he performed a steep left turn. The airplane subsequently collided with an embankment next to a road with the engine at full power and the stall warning light on.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inability to maintain clearance from terrain while operating in a downdraft over mountainous terrain. Full narrative available
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