This is an abstract from the Safety Board's report and does not include the Board's rationale for the safety recommendations. Safety Board staff are currently making final revisions to the report from which the attached information has been extracted. The final report and pertinent safety recommendation letters will be distributed to recommendation recipients and investigation parties as soon as possible. The following information is subject to further review and editing.
On October 8, 1997, at 0723 mountain daylight time, N12022, a Cessna 208B, departed controlled flight and collided with terrain at the 9,900 foot level on the Uncompahgre Plateau, about 18 nautical miles southwest of Montrose, Colorado. It took ground and air search teams 50 hours to locate the crash site. The pilot and all eight passengers were fatally injured. The flight was an on-demand air charter operated by the Department of the Interior under 14 CFR Part 135. The flight was chartered to transport eight employees of the Bureau of Reclamation from Montrose, Colorado, to Page, Arizona. The registered owner of the airplane was Scenic Airlines Inc., of North Las Vegas, Nevada.
Issues discussed in the report include:
- Lack of load manifest record-keeping requirements for 14 CFR 135 single-engine operators;
- Lack of cockpit video/audio flight recorder equipment on some turbine-powered aircraft;
- Use of older, TSO C-91-compliant ELTs instead of newer, TSO C126s;
- Lack of instrument proficiency requirements for pilots of VFR passenger flights using Federal aviation assets.
The Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed for undetermined reasons while maneuvering the airplane near maximum gross weight and aft cg in or near instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of control and entry into a stall/spin. Factors contributing to the accident were the pilot's improper in-flight planning and decision-making and his failure to use proper stall/spin recovery techniques.
Proposed safety recommendation letters to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Interior, the General Services Administration, and the National Association of State Aviation Officials, will be circulated to the Board for approval at a later date.