Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Grumman AA-5A Cheetah, N9774U: Fatal accident occurred September 26, 2019 in Cowles, New Mexico

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N9774U

Location: Cowles, NM
Accident Number: WPR19FA266
Date & Time: 09/26/2019, 1810 MDT
Registration: N9774U
Aircraft: American Aviation AA5
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 26, 2019, about 1810 mountain daylight time, a Grumman AA-5A airplane, N9774U, was destroyed when it crashed in mountainous terrain near Cowles, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by American Aircraft Brokers LLC and operated by Western Air Flight Academy as a personal flight, conducted under the provision of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the cross-country flight, which departed Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico at 1745 and was destined for Broomfield, Colorado.

According to initial interviews, the pilot had planned to fly to SAF with a friend to accumulate flight time. After arriving at their destination, the pilot placed a request with a local fixed base operator to refuel the airplane and then left the airport for a few hours. Preliminary track data was obtained from a commercially available product, which showed the airplane depart runway 28 at 1745 and immediately complete a 180º left climbing turn to a southeastern heading. At 1751 the airplane turned to the east for about three minutes before adjusting its course to the northeast. The track data ceased at 1802, about 13 nm southwest of the accident site. At the time, the airplane was traveling northeast about 100 kts at 9,225 ft mean sea level.

The airplane was located in mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 10,300 ft mean sea level. All major sections of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point (IIP) was marked by a severed tree and several broken tree branches. A large portion of the left wing was bent about midspan and was collocated with the IIP. Numerous airframe and plexiglass fragments were distributed along the wreckage path, which was oriented on a heading of about 030º magnetic. The main wreckage was located about 60 ft north of the IIP and was comprised of the right wing and fuselage, which were both consumed by postcrash fire. The vertical stabilizer and elevators came to rest a few feet forward of the main wreckage and were thermally damaged. Most of the engine was damaged by postcrash fire and found several feet from the propeller assembly; however, both were collocated with the main wreckage.

Photograph 1: Flight Path and Topography


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: American Aviation
Registration: N9774U
Model/Series: AA5 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Western Air Flight Academy
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: , 6348 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 250°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 10000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Santa Fe, NM
Destination: Denver, CO (BJC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.905556, -105.558889

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

MORA COUNTY, New Mexico — Authorities have identified a Colorado pilot killed in a New Mexico plane crash that also left a second person dead.

In a new release Tuesday, New Mexico officials identified the pilot as Nicholas Peterson, 29, of Littleton. Authorities are still investigating to identify the passenger, the release read.

The two bodies and plane wreckage were found September 30 in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness in Mora County. Authorities had been searching since September 27 for the single-engine, four-seater plane that disappeared shortly after a refueling stop at Santa Fe Regional Airport the previous evening.

State Police said the crash site was in mountainous terrain with dense tree growth at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Original article ➤ https://www.thedenverchannel.com

On September 26th, New Mexico State Police were notified of an airplane that went missing after taking off from the Santa Fe Airport.

The airplane was a single engine fixed winged four seat aircraft out of Colorado. There were two occupants, a pilot and a passenger.  They were last seen refueling and taking off from the Santa Fe Airport, when Santa Fe air traffic control lost contact with the airplane.

A search and rescue was initiated by New Mexico State Police.  New Mexico Civil Air Patrol and a New Mexico Army National Guard helicopter. New Mexico Search and Rescue ground teams searched the area of the last known location of the airplane’s emergency beacon.  A search was conducted in the Santa Fe National Park and the Pecos Wilderness.

On September 30th, at around 9 a.m., after a three-day intensive search, New Mexico State Police and a NM Search and Rescue ground team located an airplane crash site in the Pecos Wilderness, near Hamilton Mesa in Mora County.  There were two unidentified bodies located in the crash.  They were pronounced deceased by the Office of Medical Investigator.  New Mexico State Police is working in collaboration with the Office of Medical Investigator to identify the deceased and confirming the identity of the airplane.  At this time it is not confirmed that this is the missing airplane.

National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators were notified to investigate the crash.  Inquiries into the cause of the crash should be made to the Federal Aviation Administration.




ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — When Bob Coleman first heard about that small plane that disappeared in the Pecos Wilderness late last week he thought, “Oh, I can imagine how they were feeling.”

But, then he realized, “I know how they were feeling.”

Hanging in the dining room in his Sandia Park home is a picture of a wrecked burning plane.

Coleman said the similarities between the day he almost lost his life 22 years ago and the plane crash that was found in the Pecos Wilderness Monday are hard to believe.

"You know what, it was surreal,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he was in a small plane with just the pilot on September 28th, 1997.

New Mexico State Police said a small plane with two people in it took off from the Santa Fe Airport September 26th, 2019.

Both planes crashed in the Pecos Wilderness in Mora County.

"I just was observing that we were just dropping, and dropping, and dropping and we're getting right on the tops of the trees and I was going, OK, this isn't good,” Coleman said.

Luckily, Coleman’s plane crashed in a meadow. He and the pilot were able to get out of the burning plane before it became completely engulfed in flames.

Their luck continued when two campers came out of the woods. One of them was Lynn Bjorklund, a record holder for the Pikes Peak marathon and employed by the Forest Service to map trails. Bjorklund ran 15 miles to get help and directed a rescue helicopter to the badly burned men.

"You can see my hands are really scarred up from being burnt,” Coleman said.

Coleman said his story is proof that people should not lose hope.

"Who knows, you just don't give up on anybody. I don't believe that's an option,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.kob.com

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