Preliminary Report: King Air hits mountain; only minor injuries

 - February 5, 2008, 5:56 AM

Beech King Air E-90, Kremmling, Colo., March 19, 2003–At 7:30 p.m. MST King Air N711TZ, operated by Mountain Flight Service and flown by an ATP-rated pilot, was substantially damaged when it crashed into mountainous terrain approximately 1.5 miles southeast of Kremmling-McElroy Field (20V). The pilot, paramedic and flight nurse received only minor injuries.

The nonscheduled, on-demand Part 135 flight-for-life flight was being conducted on an IFR flight plan in VMC. The pilot had canceled his flight plan two minutes before the accident to make a visual approach. The cross-country flight originated at Grand Junction, Colo., and was en route to 20V.

The pilot reported he was on a downwind leg for landing from the east to the west at 20V. He later reported it was very dark and that although he could see the airport, he couldn’t see the terrain until just before the airplane hit the ground. He told investigators that the airplane was experiencing no malfunctions before the accident.

The aircraft rested inverted on the snow-covered edge of a mountain ridge at an elevation of 8,489 feet. The airplane’s nose cone, forward fuselage and nose-gear doors were crushed aft, and the nose gear was broken out. N711TZ’s right wing outboard of the engine nacelle was bent downward approximately 20 degrees near mid-span. The airplane’s left wing and left engine nacelle were twisted upward and bent aft. The vertical stabilizer and rudder were broken aft at the base, and the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were bent and twisted aft. Both propeller blades showed torsional bending, chordwise scratches and tip curling. Flight control continuity was confirmed. A preliminary examination of the engines and its controls and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.