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N80MF accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.877500°N, 106.269167°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 Los Alamos, NM
35.731987°N, 105.151674°W
63.4 miles away
Tail number N80MF
Accident date 08 Dec 2013
Aircraft type Aviat Aircraft Inc A-1C-200
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On December 8, 2013 about 0810 mountain standard time (MST), an Aviat Aircraft Inc., "Husky", A-1C-200 airplane, N80MF, impacted terrain near the Los Alamos County Airport (KLAM), Los Alamos, New Mexico. The private pilot rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Blackhawk Leasing LLC, Harmony, Minnesota, and operated by a private individual. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 cross-country flight. The flight was originating from KLAM at the time of the accident.

The flight originally departed from Harmony, Minnesota, three days earlier, with a planned stop in Iowa, to pick up the passenger, before going to Denver, and then to their final destination of Chandler, Arizona. The flight landed at KLAM due to poor weather en route.

Refueling records indicated that the airplane was filled with 32 gallons of fuel on the afternoon of December 7, 2013.

The crew of a small commuter plane reported talking to the accident pilot and passenger the morning of the accident flight. The commuter crew reported arrived on the morning of December 8, and that the runway had ½ to 1 inch of snow on it. While getting ready for their departure, the commuter pilot recalled that accident pilot asked via radio, if the east takeoff and west landings were mandatory. The commuter pilot responded that he believed it was, but that the commuter crew had permission from the airport manager to depart west, if needed. The commuter pilot added if they departed to the west, they would make a turn before the terminal building. The accident pilot responded, "that makes sense, thank you". Shortly after their departure, the commuter crew heard the accident pilot announce his taxi on runway 27.

There were no reported distress calls from the pilot.

Two witnesses reported seeing the airplane. The first witness reported seeing the airplane appear out of whirling snow and then make a 180-degree turn. The other witness reported seeing the airplane about 100 feet in the air; it then made a steep left bank turn before disappearing from sight.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The pilot's last class 3 medical exam was conducted on January 7, 2011, and had the limitation "must have available glasses for near vision." At the time of the exam, the pilot reported his flight experience as 500 total and 100 hours in last six months.

The passenger held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. The passenger's last class 3 medical exam was conducted on June 5, 2013. At the time of the exam, the passenger reported his flight experience as 151 total hours and 2.5 hours in last six months.


Aviat Husky is a tandem two-seat, high wing airplane. The structure is steel tube frame and fabric covered fuselage. The airplane was powered by 200 horsepower (hp) Lycoming IO-360-A1D6 reciprocating engine, driving an MT, 3 bladed constant speed propeller. Flight controls are installed at each seat. The accident airplane was manufactured in 2012, and received its standard airworthiness certificate on July 2, 2012. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records revealed the pilot purchased the airplane on July 2, 2012.


At 0815, the automated weather observation facility located at KLAM, reported wind from 270 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 23 knots, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 26 Fahrenheit (F), dew point 14 F, and a barometric pressure of 29.78 inches of mercury.


The Los Alamos (KLAM) airport is a public-use, non-towered airport. Pilots are to use the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), for communications. The airport has a single 6,000 feet by 120 feet runway aligned east-west (09 and 27). The facility directory notes all landings are to the west and all takeoffs to the east. The airport also has a restricted area (R-5101) on the south side that is continually active from the surface to 12,000 feet mean sea level; as a result, west go-arounds or missed approaches are to turn right, to avoid the restricted area.


The accident site was located about 900 feet south of the airport's runway, in a lightly wooded ravine. The wreckage area consisted of several impact/ground scars about 25 feet in front of the wreckage. The airplane came to rest in an upright position, turned about 180-degrees and facing the first impact point; on a westerly heading. A post-crash fire consumed much of the airplane. Control continuity was established at each control surface, except the left side flap cable was broken. The broken section was removed for further examination. Each blade from 3-bladed wood propeller was splintered and separated before the propeller hub. After initial documentation and examination of the wreckage site, the engine was removed for examination at a nearby facility.


The Office of the Medical Investigator, Albuquerque, New Mexico conducted an autopsy on the pilot and pilot rated passenger. The cause of death on both occupants was determined to be, "blunt force injuries".

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicologically testing on the on both occupants. The specimens were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The test on the pilot was positive for diphenhydramine in the urine and blood (0.198 ug/ml, ug/g).

Diphenhydramine is a nonprescription antihistamine and is generally used to treat the symptoms of allergies and the common cold. The drug contains a warning that is may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery). Diphenhydramine is marketed under the trade name Benadryl.


The section of broken flap cable was sent the NTSB Materials Lab, in Washington, D.C. for examination. The exam found the fractured ends were frayed; some of the cable wires exhibited necking and other wires a slant facture. The broken cable was consistent with a tensile over stress fracture, under a high strain rate.

The engine was removed from the airframe wreckage and examined off site. The engine had sustained both impact and fire damage. Both magnetos were thermally damaged along with the fuel pump, and could not be examined. The engine was rotated by hand; a thumb compression test was done on each cylinder. Engine and valve train continuity was confirmed. Each cylinder was borescoped; no preimpact abnormalities were no found with the engine that would have prevented normal operation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s loss of airplane control while maneuvering after takeoff in gusty wind conditions.

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