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N211EZ accident description

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Crash location 35.616945°N, 106.089166°W
Nearest city Santa Fe, NM
35.686975°N, 105.937799°W
9.8 miles away
Tail number N211EZ
Accident date 13 Jun 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-500TP
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 13, 2003, approximately 1130 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-46-500TP, N211EZ, was substantially damaged when it encountered turbulence during descent to Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico. The private pilot and his two passengers were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Novato, California, approximately 0830 Pacific daylight time, and was en route to Gunnison, Colorado.

Unable to determine the extent of damage, the accident was not reported either by the pilot, the airframe manufacturer, or the local FAA Flight Standards District Office. NTSB learned of this accident in a conversation with a local repair facility that was corroborated by the airplane insurance company.

According to the pilot, he was at FL290 and was circumnavigating isolated thunderstorms. Flight Watch informed him of a SIGMET for thunderstorms forming between Colorado and New Mexico. At the suggestion of Flight Watch, the pilot turned toward Tucumcari, New Mexico, but he had to continually change heading due to rapidly developing cells. He did not have enough fuel to fly to Tucumcari, so he pilot elected to divert to Santa Fe, New Mexico. All anti-ice equipment was turned on. During the descent through the clouds, mixed icing started to rapidly accumulate on the aircraft. As the pilot initiated a 180-degree turn to leave the icing conditions, the plane encountered severe downdrafts. The pilot declared an emergency and landed at Santa Fe in visual meteorological conditions without further incident.

Postaccident examination revealed the inboard panels of both bonded wings were wrinkled, necessitating the replacement of the entire wing assembly.

NTSB Probable Cause

the inadvertent encounter with turbulence associated with thunderstorms. A contributing factor was the icing conditions.

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