On May 7, 1996, at 1148 hours mountain standard time, a Beech A36, N100YJ, collided with a dirt embankment during initial climb after takeoff at Page, Arizona, and was destroyed. The pilot and one passenger received minor injuries, one passenger was seriously injured, and the other passenger was not injured. The flight was destined for Las Vegas, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The airport manager told the NTSB investigator that the aircraft departed on runway 15 (5,499 feet long, 150 feet wide, upslope gradient 1.22 percent). The temperature was 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the surface wind was from the southwest at 10 knots with gusts to 21 knots. The airport elevation is 4,310 feet (density altitude 6,950 feet). According to the airport UNICOM operator who watched the aircraft depart, the aircraft became airborne about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway, the wings wobbled, and the aircraft settled back onto the runway once. The aircraft then became airborne again and disappeared below the departure end. The aircraft came to rest approximately 600 feet from the departure end and 200 feet right of the runway extended centerline.

Another aircraft, a twin-engine Aerostar, was traveling with the accident aircraft and took off on runway 15 immediately before the accident. The pilot of that aircraft reported that there was a strong quartering crosswind from the right and turbulence over the departure end of the runway. He reported a perceptible performance degradation in his aircraft due to density altitude. He also said that the three passengers in the Bonanza were small (light weight) people, their baggage was light, and the Bonanza had fueled to capacity before leaving Las Vegas the previous day.

The passenger who had been seated in the right front seat of the accident aircraft stated that windy conditions prevailed with strong gusts. The pilot made a point to her that he was going to use the full length of the runway for takeoff. During the takeoff roll the door on her right came open, and she and the passenger in the right rear seat held onto it. She said that the pilot was "working to control" the aircraft and "working to straighten us out" immediately before the accident.

In his accident report, the pilot stated that there was no mechanical malfunction of the aircraft except the door coming open. As he started a gentle right turn to return for landing (to close the door), they encountered a strong gust and then a tremendous gust. The pilot reported that "All I could do at that point was try to keep the wings level".

An inspector from the FAA's Scottsdale (Arizona) Flight Standards District Office reported that witnesses told him the aircraft lifted off in a nose-high attitude and settled back onto the runway twice. The inspector found tire skid marks on the runway where the aircraft lifted off showing the aircraft drifting to the left while yawed to the right. In the wreckage the air conditioner switch was on and the landing gear down. The Airplane Flight Manual requires that the air conditioner be off for takeoff. According to the FSDO inspector the aircraft was approximately 600 pounds under gross weight.

The engine was removed from the aircraft and shipped to the Teledyne Continental Motors facility in Mobile, Alabama, where it was installed and run on a test stand. The engine developed a corrected output of 302.4 horsepower.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page