On September 11, 1995, at 1230 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 150F, N8554G, made a forced landing approximately 10 miles south of Salida, Colorado, on Poncha Pass. The flight instructor and student pilot received minor injuries and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for this Title 14 CFR Part 91 cross country instructional flight and a VFR flight plan was filed. The flight departed Canon City, Colorado, at 1130.

Investigation revealed there were three aircraft flying in formation; a Cessna 172 with two persons aboard, a Cessna 150 with one person aboard, and the accident aircraft with two persons aboard.

The three aircraft were attempting to climb over Poncha Pass which is 9,010 feet above mean sea level (msl). Density altitude at the pass was calculated as approximately 12,500 feet. The Cessna 172 and the Cessna 150 with one person aboard cleared the pass. The accident aircraft could not out climb surrounding terrain and a forced landing was made on a county road near the top of the pass when the flight instructor could not reverse course and decrease altitude. According to the flight instructor, the road made a turn which the aircraft could not negotiate and the aircraft collided with a rock wall during landing roll. The flight instructor said he was flying up the center of the valley towards the pass summit when he realized the aircraft could not out climb terrain.

The flight instructor reported that he had 375 total flight hours and 62 hours in make and model at the time of the accident. The investigation revealed that he had no previous mountain flying experience and that he had received no training in mountain flying.

According to the aircraft manual, the service ceilinf for this model and year of Cessna is 12,650 feet msl.

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