DEN05LA023
DEN05LA023

On November 14, 2004, approximately 1015 mountain standard time, a Cessna 152 single-engine airplane, N48943, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain while maneuvering near Lyons, Colorado. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Air West Flight Center, Inc., Longmont, Colorado. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight. The flight departed the Vance Brand Airport (2V2), Longmont, Colorado, approximately 0900.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that the airplane departed 2V2 to the east in visual meteorological conditions (VMC). After departure, the pilot "climbed [the airplane] over a cloud deck maintaining VFR (visual flight rules) cloud clearances." While on top of the cloud layer, the pilot demonstrated basic flight maneuvers to the passenger. The pilot then turned the airplane to the west and south. While "descending [at] 2,300 feet per minute in VMC," the airplane impacted the tops of trees.

According to the Passenger Statement (NTSB Form 6120.9), the passenger reported that during the flight, the pilot demonstrated basic flight maneuvers. The pilot climbed the airplane above the clouds and practiced more turns. The pilot then told the passenger he would look for a "clearing" and start to descend. The passenger stated they "found a gap" and started to descend. The passenger reported, "As we started to descend it got really thick and it was hard to see, but when I was looking out the window I could see some ground...and then it got really blackish blue and then I looked out the front window and I saw trees..."

According to the local authorities that interviewed the pilot and passenger, the passenger recently won an essay contest through his local high school for 16 hours of flight and ground instruction provided by Air West Flight Center, Inc. The accident flight was the introductory flight of the awarded program. The local authorities reported the right wing was separated, the empennage was twisted, and the cabin sustained "extensive damage."

At 0945, the Jeffco Airport (BJC), Denver, Colorado, automated weather observing system (AWOS), located approximately 15 statute miles southeast of the accident site, reported the wind variable at 3 knots, 3 statute miles visibility, mist, sky overcast at 600 feet, temperature 1 degree Celsius, dew point minus 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.28 inches of Mercury.

At 1045, the BJC AWOS reported the wind from 340 degrees at 4 knots, 3 statute miles visibility, mist, sky broken at 800 feet, temperature 3 degrees Celsius, dew point 0 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.28 inches of Mercury.

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