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N61D accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Page, AZ
36.908600°N, 111.473491°W

Tail number N61D
Accident date 21 Jun 1996
Aircraft type Experimental MINI MUSTANG
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 21, 1996, at 1539 hours mountain standard time, a homebuilt experimental Midget Mustang, N61D, was destroyed during takeoff from Page, Arizona. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Bountiful, Utah, and was destined for Sedona, Arizona. According to the pilot's friend in Sedona he was to arrive there about 1700.

The pilot arrived at Page about 1415 on the day of the accident. Four witnesses were on the east side of runway 15 when they observed the experimental Mustang takeoff about 1440. They reported the winds gusting between 20 and 30 miles per hour almost directly across runway 15.

After departure, the pilot was overheard on the radio asking the unicom operator for the distance to Flagstaff. After a few minutes the information was given to the pilot who stated his concerns about the headwinds en route.

According to witness information, the pilot then circled the field for about 40 minutes during which time he contacted the unicom operator for landing information. He made several approaches between the main and crosswind runways. He expressed concern for his propeller if he used the dirt crosswind runway. The pilot landed on the main runway about 1507. According to witnesses, while taxing to the ramp, the wind caused the airplane to rotate 360 degrees on the taxiway. The pilot added 15 gallons of fuel and visited the terminal. Afterwards, the pilot taxied out to runway 15 and departed without communicating on unicom.

According to witnesses, the airplane became airborne within about 1,500 feet from the beginning of the runway and attained an altitude of 20 feet agl. Twice the right wing was abruptly lifted by the wind. The second time the airplane was nearly perpendicular to the runway. The airplane was then forced into a very sharp left turn towards the east while losing altitude. Because of the unusual attitude the unicom operator reached for the phone to call 9-1-1 as the airplane collided with the terrain.

According to the Prescott Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS), the PGA Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) provided an incomplete special weather observation at 1528. The temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 33 degrees Fahrenheit, wind direction missing at 18 knots with peak gusts 28 knots, and the altimeter was partially reported as 00.87 inHg. According to the airport manager, the ASOS system had been in a trial status and not certified for about a year. The AFSS had no record of services provided to the pilot.

According to the airport's unofficial weather log, at 1530 the weather was clear with 10 miles visibility. The temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind was 180 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 24 knots. The altimeter was 29.72 inHg, and the density altitude was 7,900 feet. According to the unicom operator the weather information is obtained from the ASOS by telephone, logged, and then provided to the pilots.

A Department of Interior pilot who had just landed stated that the wind for the accident airplane was at least a 30-degree right crosswind blowing about 25 to 30 knots and gusting.

An autopsy was performed by the Coconino County Medical Examiners office. Samples were obtained from the pilot for toxicological analysis by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On August 20, a call was placed to CAMI for the results of the analysis. The results were verbally reported as negative for all screened drugs, ethanol, and cyanide.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.