FTW95LA388
FTW95LA388

On September 11, 1995, at 1053 mountain daylight time, a Beech A36, N3697A, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after taking off at Broomfield, Colorado. The commercial pilot and three passengers were not injured. The personal flight was originating and was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed.

The following is based on the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report. The pilot said winds were reported to be from 220 degrees at 18 knots when he took off from Jefferson County (Jeffco) Airport's runway 29R (according to the 1045 Jeffco weather observation, the winds were 20 knots), but he did not feel the winds were as strong as reported. When the airplane had attained an altitude of 10 to 15 feet, it was "pushed down and to the right." The airplane touched down on the grass to the right of the runway and when it became apparent the airplane was not going to attain liftoff speed, the takeoff was aborted. The airplane struck a parallel taxiway sign that folded the nosewheel back, then collided with terrain and skidded to a stop. The pilot said he felt that he had encountered "a severe downward and right moving gust of air that prevented the airplane from climbing. It was a blustery day, combining calm periods with heavy gusts," he said.

Wind shear sensors positioned throughout the area and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research were not in service at the time of the accident. However, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Denver said there were "convective showers off the foothills, causing scattered showers and gusty winds."

The right front seat passenger submitted a sworn affidavit in which he said he observed one of the passengers "snort some cocaine with (the pilot)" in the airport parking lot. Later, he said the pilot complained he was fatigued and he went into the men's restroom. When he returned, he was "waving his hands and talking quickly and loudly." He noticed the pilot's eyes were "dilated and almost completely black." He also observed "cocaine around the (pilot's) nostrils." The pilot kept "sniffing and wiping" his nose. The passenger said he did not suspect the pilot was incapable of flying the airplane because he "was a former Top Gun pilot in the Navy." He said that the passenger seated in the right rear seat was the one who possessed the snuffed cocaine prior to entering the airport.

An attempt was made to get the other two passengers to submit similar sworn affidavits. They refused. According to the attorney representing the right front seat passenger, a criminal investigation is ongoing and the county district attorney's office has refused to grant them immunity.

According to a toxicologist at the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, it takes approximately 30 minutes for the effects of inhaling cocaine to manifest. Cocaine is a stimulant and a low dosage will cause the user to become hyperactive, overreactive, and paranoid. The user will be more alert, his reaction time will be shorter, and he may be prone to take risks he normally would not take.

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