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N3766A accident description

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Crash location 40.027223°N, 106.451667°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Kremmling, CO
40.058874°N, 106.388920°W
4.0 miles away

Tail number N3766A
Accident date 07 Apr 2005
Aircraft type Piper PA-22-135
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On April 7, 2005, approximately 1515 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-22-135, N3766A, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain, 4.5 miles southwest of McElroy Airfield (20V), Kremmling, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The private pilot, whose body was not recovered, is presumed to be fatally injured. The commercial pilot rated passenger was fatally injured. The airplane departed 20V approximately 1500 and was en route to Fremont County Airport (1V6), Canon City, Colorado.

According to family members, the airplane departed 1V6 between 1000 and 1100. An airport employee in Kremmling reported that the airplane arrived approximately 1245. The pilot fueled the right fuel tank with 14.65 gallons.

The accident pilot spoke with the airport employee for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. During their conversation, the pilot discussed flying through Hoosier Pass and then continuing south to 1V6 due to the winds that were increasing in velocity.

The airplane departed Kremmling approximately 1500. The airplane was reported missing on the evening of April 7, 2005, by concerned family members. An ALNOT (search and rescue alert notice) was issued at 2315 on April 7. The ALNOT was cancelled on April 18 and the search was suspended. On August 5, 2005, two hikers discovered the airplane wreckage on the south wall of Gore Canyon at an approximate elevation of 7,960 feet msl.


The male pilot, age 77, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held a third class airman medical certificate that was issued on June 9, 2004. The certificate contained no limitations.

The pilot's logbooks were not located during the investigation. According to the pilot's last medical certificate application, he estimated his total time at 1,900 hours.

The male pilot rated passenger, age 81, held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single and multiengine land privileges, and an instrument airplane rating. He held a third class medical certificate that was issued on April 1, 2003. The certificate contained the limitations "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision."

The passenger's logbooks were not located during the investigation. According to the passenger's last medical certificate application, he estimated his total time at 4,800 hours.


The airplane was a 1954 Piper PA-22-135 (serial number 22-2008) equipped with a 135 horsepower Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Neither the airframe nor the engine logbooks were located. According to a mechanic with Peak Aviation, an annual inspection was conducted on February 9, 2005. At the time of the annual inspection, the airplane had approximately 3,325 hours total time.


At 1515, the routine aviation weather report at the Eagle County Regional Airport, 35 nautical miles southwest of the accident location, was: wind, 240 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature, 19 degrees Celsius (C); dewpoint, minus 7 degrees C; altimeter 30.04 inches.

There was no record of an FAA Flight Service Station or DUATS weather briefing being obtained.


The National Transportation Safety Board arrived on scene approximately 1300 on August 6, 2005. The accident site was located at 40 degrees 01.633 minutes north latitude and 106 degrees 27.092 minutes west longitude, along the southern wall of Gore Canyon. The terrain elevation was estimated to be 7,980 feet mean sea level.

The initial ground impact point was located approximately 40 feet directly above the main wreckage at an elevation of approximately 8,020 feet msl. Several trees and bushes to the northeast of the ground impact point exhibited signs of broken limbs and tops. One tree had been uprooted in the direction of flight. The propeller and spinner assembly separated from the propeller flange and came to rest approximately 4 feet west of the damaged trees.

The spinner was crushed aft and exhibited torsional bending. The leading edge of both blades had leading edge kicks and both blades exhibited 90-degree chord wise scratches.

A debris path extended from the propeller assembly, down the face of the canyon wall, to the main wreckage. Plexiglas, paint chips, fabric, and various personal effects were located within the debris path. The main wreckage came to rest inverted between several rocks and trees. The wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, the right and left wing assemblies, and the engine.

The left wing, including the left aileron and flap, remained attached to the fuselage. The leading edge of the wing was crushed aft approximately 24 inches at midspan. The wing spar was buckled and the fabric torn across the span of the wing. Control continuity was established to the left aileron.

The right wing, including the right aileron and flap, remained attached to the fuselage. The leading edge of the wing exhibited impact damage across the span of the wing. The wing fabric was torn. Control continuity was established to the right aileron.

The top, bottom, and sides of the fuselage were crushed and wrinkled and the fabric torn. The left door was crushed down and aft and the Plexiglas on the left side was fragmented. The Plexiglas from the front windscreen and right door was also fragmented. The engine was crushed aft into the fuselage approximately 3 inches.

The empennage, including the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, rudder, and elevator remained attached at the fuselage. The right outboard edge of the elevator had been crushed aft and was bent up 90 degrees and the outboard edge of the left outboard edge of the elevator separated. The tip of the vertical stabilizer and rudder was crushed down approximately 4 inches. The leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were unremarkable. Examination of elevator trim jackscrew revealed 0 degrees trim. Control continuity was established to the rudder and elevator.

The airplane's engine instruments displayed the following indications:

Tachometer - 1287.19 Kohlsman Window - 30.10 inches Airspeed Indicator - 25 miles per hour (shattered)

The turn and slip indicator, turn and bank indicator and directional gyro were all labeled inoperative.

The airplane's engine controls were found in the following positions:

Fuel Mixture - full rich Throttle - full forward Carburetor Heat - off Fuel Selector Valve - right tank

An examination of the remaining controls and switches revealed the following:

Master Switch - On Flap Bar - down Elevator Trim - Full Forward (Nose down)


The remains of one occupant were located in the right front seat of the airplane. These remains were positively identified as the owner of the airplane, referred to in this report as the passenger. No autopsy or toxicology was performed. The remains of the pilot were not located.


The wreckage was relocated to a hangar in Greeley, Colorado, for further examination. An examination of the engine and airframe, conducted on October 12, 2005, revealed no anomalies.


Parties to the investigation included the Federal Aviation Administration, Textron Lycoming, and The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.

The wreckage was released to a representative of the insurance company on October 12, 2005.

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