Accident Martin 4-0-4 N40438,
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Date:Friday 16 November 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic M404 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Martin 4-0-4
Owner/operator:Nevada Airlines
Registration: N40438
MSN: 14173
Year of manufacture:1952
Total airframe hrs:30451 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 44
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ (GCN) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ (GCN/KGCN)
Destination airport:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS/KLAS)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Martin 4-0-4 had been chartered to fly tourists to the Grand Canyon. Flight 2504 took off at 09:35 and landed at the National Park Airport around 10:45.
Takeoff for the return flight was started a t 14:50 from runway 3. The copilot was to make the takeoff from the right seat. The weather was clear, visibility unlimited, and winds were from 040deg at 15 knots. Immediately after raising the gear a loss of power from the left engine was sensed. The captain took control of the aircraft from the copilot and noticed that the left engine autofeather light was illuminated and the feather button depressed. After passing the runway the aircraft encountered a downdraft and turbulence which overcame the single engine climb performance of the aircraft. The airspeed had decreased to 105 knots and the temperature of the right engine cylinder head was rising rapidly toward the maximum limit, so the captain reduced the manifold pressure about 2 inHg to avoid engine failure. However, the inability of the aircraft to climb and the proximity of the terrain required the crew to return the right engine to full power and select a forced-landing area. The Martin collided with trees 7531 feet past the end of runway 03 and 2447 feet left of the extended centerline. The aircraft was destroyed by post-impact fire.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The unwanted autofeather of the left propeller just after take-off and an encounter with turbulence and downdrafts, a combination which exceeded the aircraft's single-engine climb capability which had been degraded by the high density altitude and a turn to avoid an obstacle in the flight path. Also, the available climb margin was reduced by the rising terrain along the flight path. The cause(s) for the unwanted autofeather of the left propeller could not be determined."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB/AAR-80-07
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 6 months
Download report: Final report





photo (c) Werner Fischdick; Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS); 13 September 1979

Revision history:


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