Aircraft Accident/Incident Report

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

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 Event Accident
Event Date 12/30/1998
Event Day of the Week Wednesday
Time of Event 1155
Event Time Zone Mountain Standard Time
Event State COLORADO
Event Country --
Zipcode of the event site 80474
Event Date Year 1998
Event Date Month 12
MidAir Collision Indicator No
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 airport Unknown
Distance from airport in statute miles --
Degrees magnetic from airport --
Airport Elevation --
Weather Briefing Completeness Full
Investigator's weather source Pilot
Time of the weather observation 0
Direction of event from weather observation facility (degrees) 0
Weather Observation Facility ID
Elevation of weather observation facility 0
Distance of event from weather observation facility (units?) 0
Time Zone of the weather observation
Lighting Conditions Day
Lowest Ceiling Height 0
Lowest Non-Ceiling Height 5000
Sky/Lowest/Cloud Conditions Scattered
Sky Condition for Lowest Ceiling None
Visibility Runway Visual Range (Feet) 0
Visibility Runway Visual Value (Statute Miles) 0
Visibility (Statute Miles) 5
Air Temperature at event time (in degrees celsius) -2
Dew Point at event time (in degress fahrenheit) --
Wind Direction (degrees magnetic) 310
Variable Wind Indicator Unknown
Wind Speed (knots) 51
Wind Velocity Indicator Unknown
Wind Gust Indicator Not Gusting
Wind Gust (knots) 0
Altimeter Setting at event time (in. Hg) 29
Density Altitude (feet) 11140
Intensity of Precipitation Light
METAR weather report --
Event Highest Injury Minor
On Ground, Fatal Injuries 0
On Ground, Minor Injuries 0
On Ground, Serious Injuries 0
Injury Total Fatal --
Injury Total Minor 3
Injury Total None --
Injury Total Serious --
Injury Total All 3
Investigating Agency NTSB
NTSB Docket Number (internal use) 1095
NTSB Notification Source --
NTSB Notification Date Dec 30 1998 12:00AM
NTSB Notification Time 1340
Fiche Number and/or location -used to find docket information IMAGE
Date of most recent change to record Dec 11 2000 11:55AM
User who most recently changed record dbo
Basic weather conditions Visual Meteorological Cond
FAA District Office --

Aircraft Involved

Aircraft #1

Aircraft Registration Number N8112S
NTSB Number DEN99LA030
Missing Aircraft Indicator N
Federal Aviation Reg. Part Part 91: General Aviation
Type of Flight Plan filed None
Flight plan Was Activated? --
Damage Substantial
Aircraft Fire None
Aircraft Explosion None
Aircraft Manufacturer's Full Name Piper
Aircraft Model PA-28-181
Aircraft Series Identifier PA-28-181
Aircraft Serial Number 28-8090226
Certified Max Gross Weight 2558
Aircraft Category Airplane
Aircraft Registration Class U.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 4
Number of Engines 1
Fixed gear or retractable gear Fixed
Aircraft, Type of Last Inspection Annual
Date of Last Inspection Oct 28 1998 12:00AM
Airframe hours since last inspection 60
Airframe Hours 7690
ELT Installed Yes
ELT Activated Yes
ELT Aided Location of Event Site Yes
ELT Type --
Aircraft Owner Name GERT A. EBERLEIN
Aircraft Owner Street Address 1393 WOODLAND AVE.
Aircraft Owner City MENLO PARK
Aircraft Owner State CA
Aircraft Owner Country
Aircraft Owner Zipcode 94025
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 certificate None
Other Operator of large aircraft? No
Certified for Part 133 or 137 Operation Unknown
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 Board No
Departure Point Same as Event No
Departure Airport Code IV5
Departure City BOULDER
Departure State CO
Departure Country
Departure Time 1110
Departure Time Zone MST
Destination Same as Local Flt --
Destination Airport Code SBS
Destination City STEAMBOAT SPRGS
Destination State CO
Destination Country
Specific Phase of Flight Cruise
Report sent to ICAO? --
Evacuation occurred --
Date of most recent change to record Jan 2 2001 10:34AM
User who most recently changed record dbo
Since inspection or accident --
Event Location Runway Number and Location 0
Runway Length --
Runway Width --
Sight Seeing flight No
Air Medical Flight No
Medical Flight --