Accident Piper PA-44-180 Seminole N4144C,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 44863
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Date:Thursday 13 May 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-44-180 Seminole
Owner/operator:Westwind Aviation Inc
Registration: N4144C
MSN: 4496020
Total airframe hrs:3543 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Wittmann, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Phoenix-Deer Valley Airport, AZ (DVT/KDVT)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On May 13, 2004, about 0700 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-44-180, N4144C, collided with terrain near Whittman, Arizona. Westwind Aviation, Inc., was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI), the private pilot undergoing instruction (PUI) and one passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. The local instructional flight departed Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, about 0645. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The primary wreckage was at 33 degrees 47.453 minutes north latitude and 112 degrees 28.997 minutes west longitude.

The airplane collided with terrain in a spin following an in-flight loss of control. The multiengine instructional flight departed to the west practice area. Radar data indicated that the crew climbed to 6,000 feet, but didn't maintain that altitude. The altitude varied (climbing and descending) about 500 feet for the next several minutes. About 20 miles west-northwest of the airport, they began a figure-eight type of track, and then went into a descending 360-degree turn before the last radar contact. The last radar return was just abeam the main wreckage area at a mode C transponder reported altitude of 3,900 feet. A witness saw the airplane spinning as it headed toward the ground in a nose low attitude. The preceding target was 18 seconds earlier at a mode C altitude of 5,200 feet. Investigators established control continuity, and noted no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or either engine.

Probable Cause: The flight instructor's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall/spin while maneuvering the airplane with a dual student.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 4 months
Download report: Final report


Photos: NTSB

Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
07-Dec-2017 18:02 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
17-Nov-2022 15:45 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type, Departure airport]

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