DEN05LA017
DEN05LA017

On October 31, 2004, at approximately 1545 mountain standard time, a Miller Vans RV4 homebuilt airplane, N25HM, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain following a loss of engine power near Dotsero, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal cross-country flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated at Vernal, Utah, at approximately 1500.

According to the pilot, the flight began at Morgan, Utah, at approximately 1330, with a destination of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The pilot did not file a flight plan for the flight and stated that he wanted to "retain flexibility of refuel locations, based on observed weather patterns while en route." He made a fuel stop at Vernal, Utah, and the departure from Vernal was uneventful. He stated that the weather conditions between Morgan and Colorado Springs were known to be "VNR [visual flight rules not recommended] due to mountain obscuration and icing in clouds." The pilot stated that he opted for a "VFR over the top flight," while receiving en route weather updates.

At approximately 45 minutes in to the second leg of the flight, the engine "failed." The pilot stated "no icing conditions were encountered." The pilot stated that he "declared [an] emergency," and began to "search for holes," as the airplane descended into Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The airplane "broke out of IMC, into poor visibility conditions," at approximately 1500 to 2000 feet agl.

The pilot stated that he attempted to restart the engine throughout the descent, but the "propeller seized" while he was on a base turn for an attempted forced landing to a fire road. The airplane struck the top of several aspen trees, impacted the ground in a level attitude and nosed over. A post impact fire destroyed the airplane.

At 1535, the recorded weather conditions at Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), Eagle Colorado, (approximately 24 nautical miles at 090 degrees) was, wind, 000 degrees at 0 knots; visibility, 7 statute miles; sky condition, scattered at 100 feet, overcast at 1,600 feet; temperature, minus 1 degree C; dew point, minus 2 degrees C; altimeter setting, 29.88. The calculated density altitude was 6,211 feet msl. According to the recorded data, the local weather conditions were conducive for "serious carburetor icing affects at glide and cruise power settings."

Both propeller blades showed leading edge chordwise scratches. During an examination, engine continuity was confirmed and no anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal engine operation.


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