On February 18, 2012, approximately 0830 mountain standard time, a Beech C23 Sundowner, N5205M, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of aircraft control near Rawlins Municipal Airport (6,817 foot elevation), Rawlins, Wyoming. The pilot and his two passengers were not injured. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. A flight plan had been filed with a destination of Goodland, Kansas.

The pilot stated that the airplane was fueled the night before the accident flight. During the preflight examination on the day of the accident, the pilot noticed frost on the wings and he proceeded to remove all the frost with his hand. The engine started easily, and idled for about 30 minutes to warm the oil into the yellow on the oil temperature gauge. The pilot reported that the takeoff roll was uneventful, and the airplane became airborne and accelerated to the best rate of climb speed of 75 knots, as expected. He said that he kept the airplane pitched for 75 knots, but it was not climbing as expected. Upon reaching the end of the runway, the airplane was about 75 to 200 feet above ground level.

The pilot said that the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport/Facility Directory (AFD) “warned of rising terrain and instructed an immediate turn to the right.” The pilot began a right cross-wind turn, and the airplane stopped climbing. He responded by adding nose up pitch until the first indication of the stall warning horn. The pilot said he made a very shallow turn to downwind, and the stall warning horn continued to “chirp”. The airplane subsequently descended and touched down in a sagebrush covered field. During the landing roll on the rough terrain, the right wing spar was bent, and the fuselage was bent and wrinkled.

The AFD states the following regarding takeoffs on runway 28 at Rawlins Municipal: “Request all aircraft departing runway 28 make right turnout as soon as safety permits after takeoff to avoid housing area and for noise abatement.” Rawlins Municipal Airport is located at an elevation of 6,817 feet. The density altitude at the time of the accident was calculated to have been 5,709 feet.

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