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N250ZP accident description

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Crash location 36.447500°N, 105.639722°W
Nearest city Taos, NM
36.407249°N, 105.573066°W
4.6 miles away
Tail number N250ZP
Accident date 10 May 2013
Aircraft type PHILLIPS Zenith 250
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 10, 2013, at 1335 mountain daylight time, a Phillips Zenith 250, N250ZP, collided with terrain after departing Taos Regional Airport (SKX), Taos, New Mexico. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), Santa Fe, New Mexico.

According to the written statement submitted by the pilot, he elected to take off on runway 04, and the takeoff and climb out were normal until the airplane reached about 300 feet above the ground. At that point "the climb stopped as I experienced turbulent crosswinds and downdrafts." The pilot turned the airplane into the anticipated headwind, but the airplane did not climb as it approached rising terrain and obstacles. The pilot made an additional turn to avoid the obstacles. The airplane continued to descended into a landfill and hit a mulch pile. The pilot reported there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane or engine prior to impact, and that he thought the conditions were within the capabilities of the airplane.

The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for SKX, issued at 1335 reported wind 130 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 20 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition few clouds at 5,000 feet, broken clouds at 6,500 feet, over cast skies at 9,000 feet, temperature 14 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint minus 02 degrees C, and altimeter 30.24 inches. The pilot stated a storm cloud had recently passed the airfield from the northwest and that winds were 120 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 22 knots when he departed the runway.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s improper decision to take off in gusting wind conditions and the airplane’s loss of climb performance following an encounter with turbulence and downdrafts.

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