Preliminary Report: IMC Approach Turns Sour

 - March 16, 2007, 10:24 AM

AERO COMMANDER 690A, CORTEZ, COLO., JAN 3, 2004–Commander 700SR crashed at approximately 7:15 p.m. GMT during an ILS approach to Runway 21 at Cortez Montezuma Airport (CEZ). The sole-occupant pilot was killed and the aircraft destroyed. The aircraft departed Mesa, Ariz., on an IFR flight plan for Cortez. At the time of the accident the wind was from 190 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 15, and visibility was half a mile in snow and fog. The ceiling was 900 feet broken, with an overcast at 3,200 feet. Temperature and dewpoint were matched at zero degrees.

Two witnesses at the airport saw the airplane emerge from the overcast slightly high and fast, according to the NTSB. The turboprop started a left turn before it disappeared from their view. The witnesses also said it was snowing heavily to the northwest at the time.

A third witness was sitting in a restaurant near the airport. She said she saw the airplane go by at low altitude in a steep bank. The wings were “wobbling” and the nose was “dipping,” she noted. This witness then saw the left wing drop before the airplane descended into the ground “almost vertically.”

The on-scene investigation disclosed no evidence of pre-impact airframe, powerplant or system failure.