WPR12CA342
WPR12CA342

The pilot co-owned the airplane with two other individuals, and the three were business partners in a flight school that specialized in training missionaries for bush pilot operations. The pilot was also a flight instructor for the school, and the airplane was one of the school fleet airplanes. The accident flight was a personal flight to provide the passenger, who was a relative of a colleague, with a tour of the local area. The pilot had previously conducted such flights, and he had a normal route that he followed. However, on this occasion, he deviated from that route to "do something a little different," and turned up a canyon that he normally did not fly into. He noticed the terrain was rising, and attempted to climb to clear it. Shortly thereafter, he noticed that the airplane was not going to clear the terrain. He realized that there was insufficient room to execute a course reversal to exit the area, and decided to land straight ahead on the rising, vegetation-covered desert terrain. Immediately after touchdown, the airplane rotated sharply around to the right and stopped. The passenger sustained minor injuries, while the pilot incurred a skull fracture. The outboard section of the right wing was bent and crumpled. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical problems or failures of the airplane or engine prior to the accident. The automated weather observation at an airport located 8 miles south of the accident site, at an elevation of 4,150 feet above mean sea level (msl), reported winds from 280 degrees at 3 knots; clear skies; and a temperature of 26 degrees C. The accident site elevation was about 5,400 feet msl, with an estimated density altitude of about 7,600 feet.

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