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N6691V accident description

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Crash location 37.866670°N, 107.516670°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 Lake City, CO
38.029997°N, 107.315333°W
15.7 miles away

Tail number N6691V
Accident date 10 Nov 1999
Aircraft type Beech 17-30(AF) Bellanca 17-30(NTSB)
Additional details: Gray/White/Gold/Black

NTSB description


On November 10, 1999, approximately 1440 mountain standard time, a Bellanca Viking 17-30, N6691V, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Lake City, Colorado. The commercial pilot and his passenger (the pilot's wife) were fatally injured. The aircraft was owned by the pilot's wife, and was being operated by the pilot under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the high mountain ridge tops, and cloud tops were above 19,000 feet. The cross-country personal flight originated from Colorado Springs, Colorado, at approximately 1230. No flight plan had been filed, but witnesses reported that the intended destination was Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to family members, the pilot and his wife departed Lagrangeville, New York, on November 9, 1999, with a destination of Las Vegas, Nevada. They spent the night in Kansas, and flew their first leg on November 10, 1999, into Colorado Springs, Colorado. The pilot requested ramp personnel to "top the airplane off." The airplane received 53 gallons of 100LL fuel.

Radar data indicates that the airplane departed Colorado Springs at 1225 and flew south towards Pueblo, Colorado. The last confirmed radar contact, at 1309, was south of Cannon City, Colorado, over the north end of the Wet Mountains (County Road 143, or Oak Creek Grade Road) at 10,500 feet mean sea level (msl). Additional unconfirmed radar returns were recorded, at 1411, near Creede, Colorado, at 13,500 feet msl. The last unconfirmed radar return was at 1419 (N37 degrees, 54.10'; W107 degrees, 2.00'), at an altitude of 14,800 feet msl. This last radar return was 30 nautical miles (nm) from the crash site. No Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal was received from the downed airplane.

The family reported the couple missing on November 20, 1999, and authorities began to search for the airplane. The Civil Air Patrol suspended its unsuccessful search mission on December 3, 1999. On July 20, 2000, hikers found the airplane at 12,718 feet on Crown Mountain, above Lake City, Colorado.


The pilot reported on his FAA medical application, dated April 22, 1999, that he had 4,500 hours of flight experience, and that he had flown 10 hours during the previous 6 months. The pilot's personal flight logbook was never located; no documentation could be located to indicate that the pilot had a current flight review.

The pilot's son said that his father was "not much of an outdoors person," and that he had had little or no training in outdoor survival skills. He also said that his father had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The son said that the family doctor told him that the pilot's medical condition had been stabilized with medication (insulin). This medication was not approved by the FAA for pilots to take while on flight status.

FAA medical records indicate that the passenger received her private pilot certificate in September 15, 1959. Their records further indicate that her last FAA medical was taken on September 3, 1992. On that medical application form, the passenger indicated that she had accumulated a total of 200 hours of flight experience.


The airplane was a single engine, propeller-driven, four seat airplane, which was manufactured by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, in 1967. It was powered by a Continental Motors IO-520KCD, six cylinder, reciprocating, horizontally opposed, direct drive, air cooled, normally aspirated, fuel injected engine, which had a maximum takeoff rating of 300 horsepower at sea level. The wing flaps and the landing gear were operated by hydraulics. The maintenance logbooks indicated that the last annual inspection had been completed on October 21, 1999. The aircraft's maintenance logbook and the engine's tachometer indicated that the airframe had a total of 1,448 hours of flight time.

The engine, with 1,254 hours on it, had been installed on December 19, 1997. A portable oxygen system was found, in the on position, in the airplane; it could not be determined if it had oxygen in it at the time of the accident. The airplane was also equipped with an ELT, which had a transmission antenna located just forward of the vertical stabilizer. It was labeled with a battery expiration date of October 15, 1999.


At 1453, the weather conditions at the Montrose Regional Airport (elevation 5,759 feet), 320 degrees 42 nm from the accident site, were as follows: wind 310 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 statue miles (sm); clear of clouds; temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 46 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.22 inches of mercury.

Weather reports from several locations across southern Colorado and northern New Mexico indicate that visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the time period of the airplane's flight. Satellite pictures taken at 1400 show clouds moving from southeastern Utah into southwestern Colorado; the high mountain topography near the accident site did have clouds present.


The airplane was found in high mountain rocky terrain (elevation 12,724 feet, N37 degrees, 52.76'; W107 degrees, 31.76'). The terrain was partially soil-covered with 6 inch high grass. There was a ground scar leading to the airplane, 287 feet in length, on a 200 degree track. The airplane was upright and resting on its belly; it was oriented longitudinally approximately 315 degrees. The right wing had completely separated from the fuselage, and the left wing's outboard 12 feet was separated. The bottom of the fuselage, in the area under the instrument panel, was slightly crushed up into the cabin area. The bottom of the empennage, just forward of the vertical stabilizer, was buckled. The airplane's front windscreen was broken.

All of the airplane's major components were accounted for at the accident site. The flight control surfaces were all identified. Control cable continuity was established to the rudder and horizontal stabilizer; however, control cable continuity could not be established to the ailerons due to impact damage. Both main landing gear were found separated from the aircraft. The nose landing gear was found under the fuselage broken aft, and to the right side. The flaps were found in the up position, but they were hydraulically operated and spring loaded to the up position in case of hydraulic failure.

The front right seat was found broken from its attachment rails, and the floor under the seat area was bent and buckled. The left rudder pedal on the pilot's side was broken forward. The airplane's communication radios were in the on position and set to 126.85 megahertz; however, it could not be determined if they were operational immediately after the accident. The landing gear handle was in the down position.

The engine controls, mixture, propeller, and throttle, were all found full forward. The engine cavity damage, engine mounts and the firewall, indicate that the engine had been forced back into the firewall and then rebounded forward. The right side engine mounts were broken and the right side of the engine was displaced aft. The engine's crankshaft freely rotated by hand, had good "thumb" compression on all cylinders, and demonstrated continuity through the valve train and all accessories. Both magnetos, on all the leads, developed good spark. All three propeller blades were loose in the hub, and they all displayed chordwise striations and leading edge damage. One blade had 9 inches of its tip broken off, another was twisted approximately 90 degrees and bent aft, and the third was bent aft approximately 30 degrees near the tip.

The handheld transceiver was found under a seat, and it could not be determined if it was operational at the time of the accident. The ELT was found outside of the airplane beside the baggage door; the bottom was broken out and several batteries were separated from the unit (it was not determined by whom or when it was removed from the airplane). A Garmin 195 Global Positioning System handheld receiver was found in the cockpit; however, no sectional navigation maps or evidence of a flight plan could be located. The VOR navigation receiver was tuned to 117.6 megahertz, a station located at Page, Arizona, approximately 220 nautical miles from the accident site (approximately half the remaining distance to Las Vegas, Nevada).

The mountain rescue team found the pilot's wife in the right back seat. She had "multiple portions of additional items of clothing on," and she was found with insulation from the cabin's interior over her. The pilot was found approximately 30 feet from the airplane, and he was also wearing "additional items of clothing." Next to him were two hypodermic needles; no medication was reportedly found. The coroner reported that the pilot had a 4 millimeter beard. The VOR navigation antenna, located on the vertical stabilizer, had a man's necktie and shoelaces wrapped around it. No winter clothing or survival equipment was found in the airplane.

No preimpact engine or airframe anomalies, which might have affected the airplane's performance, were identified. There was no evidence of pre or postimpact fire.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Montrose Memorial Hospital, Montrose, Colorado, on July 24, 2000.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#200000334001), carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed, and drugs were not detected in the kidney. The following volatiles, which were attributed to postmortem production, were found in muscle and kidney samples: ethanol, acetone, acetaldehyde, isopropanol, N-butanol, and N-propanol.


The airplane, including all components and logbooks, was released to a representative of the airplane's retrieval/salvage company (representing the owner's son) on August 10, 2000.

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