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N5660L accident description

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Crash location 35.511111°N, 108.789166°W
Nearest city Gallup, NM
35.528078°N, 108.742584°W
2.9 miles away
Tail number N5660L
Accident date 19 Jul 2010
Aircraft type American AA-1
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

The pilot stated that while en route on a cross-country flight, he decided to stop at the Gallup Municipal Airport (GUP) in order to get fuel. He also believed that the airport’s lower elevation would be a better choice than his original planned stop. He added that at unfamiliar airports, he preferred to do a “touch-n-go” before landing. So, he did a normal approach and touched down before adding “full-throttle”, and “took-off at 80-mph; [however, and] only got to about 35-40 feet (of altitude).” Once past the runway end, he started to lose altitude. The pilot leaned out the airplane’s engine but kept losing altitude. Believing that he could not make it back to the runway, he looked for a place for a forced landing. The pilot reported he was unable to make his landing spot and that his only option was to “simply pull-up the nose and pancake in”. During the maneuver the airplane’s left wing struck the ground and subsequently both the airplane's left and right wings separated. The engine remained attached to the fuselage by the various electrical/control wires and cables. The pilot reported no pre-impact anomalies with the airplane’s flight controls or engine. A post accident calculation of the density altitude, indicated that at the time of accident, the density altitude was about 10,200 feet.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning and failure to attain an adequate airspeed that led to a stall/mush. Contributing to the accident was the lack of suitable terrain for an off-airport landing and the high density altitude.

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