DEN02LA049
DEN02LA049

On June 1, 2002, approximately 1420 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-201, N171M, was substantially damaged when it struck terrain during a precautionary landing at Beaver, Utah. The private pilot received no injuries, but his passenger received minor injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated in San Diego, California, at 0930 Pacific daylight time, and was en route to Logan, Utah.

In an unsigned statement written in third person and submitted along with the accident report, the writer said the stall warning was activating 15 knots higher than it was supposed to while the airplane was in a climb. The pilot advised Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) that he was experiencing wind shear. ARTCC said there was no reported wind shear in the area and to maintain 13,000 feet. The pilot was unable to maintain 13,000 feet, and descended to 12,000 feet, then to the minimum en route altitude of 11,000 feet. Unable to maintain this altitude, the pilot descended to 10,500 feet, cancelled his IFR flight plan, and descended further to 9,500 feet, at which point radio communications with ARTCC were lost. A United Air Lines flight relayed communications between N171M and ARTCC.

The writer said the airplane was yawing and "the ball (turn coordinator) was in the right side." The pilot held "full right aileron deflection to keep the [air]plane from turning." He attempted to make a precautionary landing on runway 13 at Beaver Municipal Airport. A left crosswind aided in keeping the airplane on track, but the pilot was "unable to use the rudder to straighten out the [air]plane to land." At 100 feet above the ground, the pilot attempted a go-around. With flaps up, landing gear down, and full power applied, the airplane would not climb but descended slowly instead. The pilot made a forced landing in an open field 1 mile south of the airport. In the ensuing landing, both wings were damaged, the aft portion of the fuselage was wrinkled, and the main gear was torn off.

A statement given to the Beaver County Sheriff's Office was similar to the one submitted with the accident report. An inspection of the aircraft after the accident disclosed no anomalies with the flight control system or the engine. Flight control continuity was confirmed.

Calm winds were recorded at Milford, Utah, located 21 miles west-northwest of the accident site, 26 minutes before the accident.

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