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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 230534
Last updated: 11 November 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 172N
Registration: N251CH
C/n / msn: 17271075
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Hatch, NM -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Hatch, NM (E05)
Destination airport:El Paso, TX (ELP)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The private pilot and 3 passengers departed the airport on a return cross-country flight; the wreckage was located the following evening in rugged, desert terrain about 0.56 nautical mile west of the departure end of the runway. About the estimated time of the accident, the reported wind was from 220 at 15 kts gusting to 18 kts, the calculated density altitude was 6,371 ft, and the airplane would have been taking off toward the setting sun. The airplane's estimated takeoff weight was about 25 lbs below its maximum gross weight. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The impact damage to the airplane was consistent with an aerodynamic stall/spin which, given the location of the wreckage relative to the runway, likely occurred during the initial climb after takeoff. It is likely that the airplane's high gross weight, the high density altitude and gusting wind conditions were factors which contributed to the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb after takeoff. The low airspeed resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and a subsequent aerodynamic stall/spin.

Toxicology testing of the pilot detected venlafaxine, an antidepressant medication, in liver and blood specimens. There were no documented adverse side effects to the pilot, so it is unlikely that this medication resulted in impairment or incapacitation. An autopsy identified moderate coronary artery disease without angina with 3 stent placements. Whether the pilot experienced impairing symptoms from his cardiovascular condition or if it contributed to the accident could not be determined.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during the initial climb after takeoff, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and a subsequent aerodynamic stall/spin.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

11-Nov-2019 17:40 ASN Update Bot Added

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