DEN93FA089
DEN93FA089

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 27, 1993, at 1300 mountain daylight time, a Globe GC-1B, N3783K, collided with trees and impacted mountainous terrain approximately ten miles northwest of Durango, Colorado. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post impact fire. The private pilot was seriously injured and his passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for this personal flight.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Report that he took off from the Durango-La Plata County Airport at about 1220 for a local sightseeing flight. At approximately 1300, a sailplane instructor, who was flying in the local area, observed a fireball on the side of a mountain that was later determined to be the accident site. The airplane was reported missing at about 1900 that evening. The wreckage was discovered the following morning, and the pilot was rescued at about 0815.

The following is based on an interview with the pilot and on the Pilot/Operator Report he submitted. After flying around Animas Valley, the pilot decided to fly over to Purgatory, a trip he said he had made "many times before." He turned left into what he thought was the Hermosa Creek drainage but was actually the Buck Creek drainage (see enclosed map). His altitude was approximately 6,500 feet MSL. When he saw the high terrain on both sides and in front of the airplane, he realized he had made a mistake and immediately initiated a maximum performance climb. As the airplane neared the end of the canyon, the pilot decided not to risk stalling the airplane by attempting to turn around. Instead, he slowed the airplane to just above stall speed. He further reported that the airplane struck the tops of the trees, spun around, and collided with the terrain.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was situated at the 8,900 foot level on the south slope of a canyon and in a heavily timbered area. Strike marks were noted on several trees. The wreckage was confined to a small area. The separated left wing was next to the fuselage. The leading edge had compression damage. Both of the propeller blades exhibited 45 and 90 degree chordwise scratches on the cambered surfaces.

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