Aircraft Incident/Accident Report

Rollinsville, Colorado 80474
Wednesday, December 30, 1998 11:55 MST

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NTSB Narrative Summary Released at Completion of Accident
The pilot obtained a weather briefing for a cross-country flight from Boulder to Steamboat Springs which called for a SIGMET for severe turbulence due to strong winds in the vicinity of the mountains, and AIRMETS for mountain obscuration and moderate to severe turbulence. The winds aloft were forecasted to be 310 degrees at 48 knots (9,000 feet), 320 degrees at 56 knots (12,000 feet), and 310 degrees at 66 knots (18,000 feet). The pilot was going to rent a car, then later changed his mind. While en route, he encountered low visibility and obscuration due to blowing snow and mountain obscuration. He decided to turn around and descend, and was then 'caught in a powerful smooth air downdraft.' The aircraft impacted the ground and the right wing and left landing gear were sheered off. According to a witness, weather conditions at the time of the accident included 'snow, blowing snow, limited visibility, and winds gusting to approximately 40 mph... A stormy day to be sure.' At the time of the accident, the pilot had 18 years of flight experience, the majority and most recent of which was conducted in California. He was unfamiliar with the geographic location and with mountain flying.
NTSB Probable Cause Narrative
The pilot's inadequate decision to continue flight into deteriorating weather conditions, that included a downdraft which resulted in a loss of control, and collision with terrain. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of familiarity with the terrain, high winds, obscuration and mountainous terrain.
Event Information
Type of EventAccident 
Event Date12/30/1998 
Event Day of the WeekWednesday 
Time of Event1155 
Event Time ZoneMountain Standard Time 
Event StateCOLORADO 
Event Country-- 
Zipcode of the event site80474  
Event Date Year1998 
Event Date Month12 
MidAir Collision IndicatorNo 
On Ground Collision occurred ?No 
Event Location Latitude  
Event Location Longitude  
Event Location Airport  
Event Location Nearest Airport ID  
Indicates whether the acc/inc occurred off or on an airportUnknown 
Distance from airport in statute miles-- 
Degrees magnetic from airport-- 
Airport Elevation-- 
Weather Briefing CompletenessFull 
Investigator's weather sourcePilot 
Time of the weather observation0  
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees)
Weather Observation Facility ID  
Elevation of weather observation facility
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?)
Time Zone of the weather observation  
Lighting ConditionsDay 
Lowest Ceiling Height
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height5000 
Sky/Lowest/Cloud ConditionsScattered 
Sky Condition for Lowest CeilingNone 
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet)
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles)
Visibility (Statute Miles)
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius)-2 
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit)-- 
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic)310 
Variable Wind IndicatorUnknown 
Wind Speed (knots)51 
Wind Velocity Indicator Unknown 
Wind Gust IndicatorNot Gusting 
Wind Gust (knots)
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29 
Density Altitude (feet)11140 
Intensity of PrecipitationLight 
METAR weather report -- 
Event Highest InjuryMinor 
On Ground, Fatal Injuries
On Ground, Minor Injuries
On Ground, Serious Injuries
Injury Total Fatal-- 
Injury Total Minor
Injury Total None-- 
Injury Total Serious-- 
Injury Total All
Investigating AgencyNTSB 
NTSB Docket Number (internal use)1095 
NTSB Notification Source-- 
NTSB Notification DateDec 30 1998 12:00AM 
NTSB Notification Time1340 
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket informationIMAGE 
Date of most recent change to recordDec 11 2000 11:55AM 
User who most recently changed recorddbo  
Basic weather conditionsVisual Meteorological Cond 
FAA District Office-- 
Aircraft Involved
Aircraft #1
Aircraft Registration NumberN8112S 
NTSB NumberDEN99LA030  
Missing Aircraft Indicator
Federal Aviation Reg. PartPart 91: General Aviation 
Type of Flight Plan filedNone 
Flight plan Was Activated?-- 
Aircraft FireNone 
Aircraft ExplosionNone 
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full NamePiper  
Aircraft ModelPA-28-181  
Aircraft Series IdentifierPA-28-181  
Aircraft Serial Number28-8090226  
Certified Max Gross Weight2558 
Aircraft CategoryAirplane 
Aircraft Registration ClassU.S. Registered/U.S. Soil 
Aircraft is a homebuilt?No 
Flight Crew Seats-- 
Cabin Crew Seats-- 
Passenger Seats-- 
Total number of seats on the aircraft
Number of Engines
Fixed gear or retractable gearFixed 
Aircraft, Type of Last InspectionAnnual 
Date of Last InspectionOct 28 1998 12:00AM 
Airframe hours since last inspection60 
Airframe Hours7690 
ELT InstalledYes 
ELT ActivatedYes 
ELT Aided Location of Event SiteYes 
ELT Type-- 
Aircraft Owner NameGERT A. EBERLEIN  
Aircraft Owner Street Address1393 WOODLAND AVE.  
Aircraft Owner CityMENLO PARK  
Aircraft Owner StateCA 
Aircraft Owner Country  
Aircraft Owner Zipcode94025  
Operator is an individual?-- 
Operator Name  
Operator Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Is Doing Business As-- 
Operator Address Same as Owner?Yes 
Operator Street Address  
Operator City  
Operator State  
Operator Country  
Operator Zip code  
Operator Code  
Owner has at least one certificateNone 
Other Operator of large aircraft?No 
Certified for Part 133 or 137 OperationUnknown 
Operator Certificate Number-- 
Indicates whether an air carrier operation was scheduled or not-- 
Indicates Domestic or International Flight-- 
Operator carrying Pax/Cargo/Mail-- 
Type of Flying (Per_Bus / Primary)Personal 
Second Pilot on BoardNo 
Departure Point Same as EventNo 
Departure Airport CodeIV5  
Departure CityBOULDER  
Departure StateCO 
Departure Country  
Departure Time1110 
Departure Time ZoneMST 
Destination Same as Local Flt-- 
Destination Airport CodeSBS  
Destination CitySTEAMBOAT SPRGS 
Destination StateCO 
Destination Country  
Specific Phase of FlightCruise 
Report sent to ICAO?-- 
Evacuation occurred-- 
Date of most recent change to recordJan 2 2001 10:34AM 
User who most recently changed recorddbo  
Since inspection or accident-- 
Event Location Runway Number and Location0  
Runway Length-- 
Runway Width-- 
Sight Seeing flightNo 
Air Medical FlightNo 
Medical Flight--