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N9646L accident description

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Tail numberN9646L
Accident dateMarch 09, 2009
Aircraft typeGrumman American AVN. CORP. AA-1B
LocationGolden, NM
Near 35.236944 N, -106.2025 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On March 9, 2009, about 0540 mountain daylight time, a Gruman American Aviation Corporation AA-1B airplane, N9646L, impacted terrain following inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions near Golden, New Mexico. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. The cross country flight originated at the Sandia Airpark Estates East Airport (1N1), Edgewood, New Mexico, and was en route to Los Alamos Airport (LAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Witnesses heard the non-rated private pilot and passenger depart 1N1 for LAM about 0530. They regularly flew between the two locations commuting to work in Los Alamos. Their regular route of flight generally followed SR-344 to State Highway 14 (SH-14), then north towards LAM. SR-344 generally runs north from 1N1 for about nine miles, and then turns west for about 4.5 miles, crossing a 7,200 foot ridgeline perpendicularly 1.6 miles east of SH-14.

A witness driving north on SR-344 saw an airplane flying low to the west, then north, in the vicinity of 1N1 about 0530. She described light snow falling as she drove north of 1N1, and the snow became heavy within one half mile east of the ridgeline crossing. As she crossed the ridgeline she spotted a fire burning north of SR-344 and called 911. Emergency responders arrived and identified airplane wreckage in the fire.

A witness living at 1N1 described hearing rain falling between 0500 and 0530. Weather at LAM at 0550 was reported 2,000 feet broken, 3,100 feet overcast, calm winds, and 10 miles visibility. Responding law enforcement officers reported heavy snow and rain falling between Sandia Mountain to the west, and the accident site.

Examination of the airplane revealed the airplane mostly burned. Flight control cable continuity was verified from the cockpit controls to each aileron, elevator and rudder control surface. One propeller blade had multiple leading edge gouges, up to one half inch deep, and chord wise scratches.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.