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N6548D accident description

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Crash location 36.271667°N, 115.991666°W
Nearest city Pahrump, NV
36.208294°N, 115.983915°W
4.4 miles away
Tail number N6548D
Accident date 21 Sep 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 172N
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 21, 2003, about 1105 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N6548D, collided with rising terrain while maneuvering to gain altitude shortly after departure from Calvada Meadows Airport, Pahrump, Nevada. Skyschool, Inc., was operating the rental airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. The flight originated Pahrump at 1100, with a planned destination of North Las Vegas Airport, North Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that after an uneventful departure, the airplane ascended at 80 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) with a 500- to 600-feet-per-minute (fpm) rate of climb. With a mountain range ahead, the pilot opted to execute a 360-degree turn, in an effort to gain altitude. While turning, he noticed a significant downdraft, and despite the continuous use of full throttle, the airplane was unable to climb. He attempted to maneuver the airplane to avoid contacting terrain, but the airplane continued descending about 250 fpm. The airplane impacted the terrain, incurring damage to both wings and the landing gear. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane. He thought that the accident could have been prevented if he had maneuvered the airplane away from mountainous terrain.

With the temperature and pressure from the nearest reporting station, the density altitude was calculated to be in excess of 4,800 feet.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance from the mountainous terrain while maneuvering, which resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain.

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