DEN05LA117
DEN05LA117

On July 30, 2005, at 1224 mountain daylight time, a Bellanca 14-19-3, N8870R, was substantially damaged when on departure the airplane lost engine power and impacted terrain 2 miles west of the Walker Field Airport (GJT), Grand Junction, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated at GJT approximately 1030.

The pilot contacted the Air Traffic Control tower at 1201:02, and subsequently was cleared for a touch-and-go landings. Over the next 23 minutes, the pilot performed four traffic patterns and touch-and-go landings. The pilot had just finished the fourth touch-and-go on runway 29 (10,501 feet by 150 feet, dry, asphalt) and was on the departure leg when he reported that the airplane's engine had lost power.

According to a tower controller, he heard the pilot say that he "had lost the engine." The controller saw the airplane descend off the end of the runway from approximately 150 feet above the ground. The controller observed the airplane touch down briefly, rise back into the air, then descend again, disappearing behind a ridge.

Rescue workers that arrived on scene immediately after the accident observed a small amount of fuel leaking from the airplane. They also noted that one propeller blade was bent aft while the other blade sustained no damage.

At 1233, the Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at GJT reported the weather as clear skies below 12,000 feet, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 91 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 39 degrees F, winds variable at 4 knots, and an altimeter of 30.21 inches.

The airplane was located nose down in the west embankment of a ravine located approximately 2 miles off the departure end of runway 29. The airplane's fuselage was oriented on a 270-degree magnetic heading. The terrain prior to the ravine was flat, grassy, and arid. Beginning approximately 200 feet prior to the east edge of the ravine were three parallel-running tire marks running along the direction of flight toward the ravine. The tire marks ended approximately 75 feet from the east edge of the ravine.

The airplane was examined at Greeley, Colorado on October 3, 2005. The airplane's engine and top cowling were broken downward. The bottom cowling was crushed upward. The nose gear was broken aft. The front windscreen was broken out, and the instrument panel and glareshield were broken downward. The leading edges of both wings were crushed upward and aft along the entire spans. Both main landing gears were broken aft. The left wing fuel tank was broken open. Evidence of fuel was noted with the tank. The right wing fuel tank was intact and void of fuel. The airplane's fuselage, aft of the baggage compartment was wrinkled and bent downward. The empennage was intact. One of the airplanes two propeller blades was bent aft approximately 40 degrees beginning 8 inches outboard of the propeller hub. The other blade showed no damage. Flight control continuity was confirmed. An examination of the airplane's engine showed trace evidence of fuel in the distribution manifold. The fuel selector was removed and examined. The selector valve was positioned to the right fuel tank feed position. No other systems anomalies were found that could have contributed to the accident.

Fuel records obtained from the local fixed base operator showed the airplane was serviced with 29.1 gallons of "AVGAS" on May 29, 2005.

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