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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45921
Last updated: 3 December 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-161
Owner/operator:Nevada-Cal Aero Flying Service
Registration: N5999V
C/n / msn: 28-7716223
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Meeker, CO -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Meeker, CO (2V3)
Destination airport:Broomfield, CO (BJC)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot joined a flying club and got a checkout in a PA-28-161, an airplane which he had never flown before. He was told not to fly the airplane cross-country but to fly locally for an additional 5 hours. Although the airplane had been upgraded from a 160 to a 180 horsepower engine, he was told not to fly it with three adult passengers aboard. The pilot scheduled the airplane for 2 days. He obtained a "standard" weather briefing for a VFR flight from Reno, NV, to Hawthorne, NV, and an "outlook" weather briefing for Denver, CO. He filed a VFR flight plan to Hawthorne, but there is no record that he flew to Hawthorne. The airplane, with the pilot and 3 adult passengers on board, was reported missing. Six days later, fishermen found airplane debris floating in Upper Marvine Lake, located about 30 miles east of Meeker, CO. The debris was identified as having come from the missing airplane. The airplane had stopped in Meeker for fuel, and was en route to the Denver area. The wreckage was recovered, and examination disclosed no discrepancies with the airframe, engine, and propeller. The airplane was estimated to have been 111 pounds overweight when it departed Meeker, elevation 6,421 feet msl. Toxicological tests revealed the pilot had amphetamine and methamphetamine in blood and urine. The levels found in the blood were high, suggestive of regular use and probable addiction. The effects of methamphetamine include increased alertness, euphoria, insomnia, and increased self-confidence. Long-term use could lead to paranoia, loss of physical coordination, and weight loss. If use were to be discontinued, within hours a regular user might experience severe withdrawal symptoms, including depression, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and headache. Overdoses may result in loss of consciousness or seizures. Regular users can tolerate high doses. The levels found in the blood indicate the pilot had recently used methamphetamine and was impaired by its effect. This could have led him to attempt maneuvers beyond his abilities. Although possible but not likely, the pilot could have had an acute event resulting in incapacitation, such as fainting or seizure.
Probable Cause: the pilot's failure to maintain terrain clearance as a result of his drug induced impairment. A factor was his exceeding the airplane's gross weight limits.



Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 11:23 ASN Update Bot Updated [Source, Narrative]

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