ATL02LA050
ATL02LA050

On February 21, 2002, at 1430 eastern standard time, a Cessna 152, N757AS, registered to H & H Propeller Service, Inc., and operated by the private pilot, collided with mountainous terrain while maneuvering in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with a visual flight rules flight plan filed but not activated. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot received serious injuries, the passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport in Burlington, North Carolina, at 1300.

The pilot was maneuvering above mountainous terrain at 3,700 feet, making first one pass then returning for a second pass to view property on the ground. During the second pass, the pilot reported encountering a strong downdraft. The pilot attempted to escape the condition by turning the airplane to the right. During the maneuver, the downdraft pushed the airplane's left wing down. The pilot was able to level the wings, but the airplane was pushed downward into the tree tops.

A witness in a mountain-top home 100 yards from the accident site saw the airplane flying on the southeast side of the mountain, coming in from the west at 50 to 100 feet above the trees. The witness stated the airplane suddenly "flipped" to its side during a "major gust of wind" and collided with trees in a steep bank.

An automated weather station in Boone, North Carolina, reported surface winds from 280 degrees magnetic at 24 knots gusting to 37 knots. The airplane was found approximately 100 yards below a 2,630-foot peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the southeast side, about 3.5 miles east of a 3,800-foot ridge. According to the pilot, he received a weather briefing before the flight departed.

Examination of the wreckage found the airplane resting in a nose-down, left wing-low attitude on a wooded slope. Fuel was observed leaking from the tanks immediately after impact. Both wings displayed leading edge damage. Flight control continuity and engine control continuity was established. No evidence of mechanical malfunction or defect was found during the on-site examination f the airplane. The pilot reported no mechanical problems with the airplane.

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