February 15, 1983




NTSB Identification: DEN83FA059 For details, refer to NTSB microfiche number 21693A

Accident occurred FEB-15-83 at ASPEN, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N33340
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

PRIOR TO DEPARTURE THE FLT WAS GIVEN AN IFR CLEARANCE WHICH BEGAN AT HERLS INTERSECTION (16 MI NNE) & TO CROSS HERLS AT OR ABOVE 16,000 FT MSL. DEPARTURE ARPT FIELD ELEV IS 7,793 FT. FLTS ARE REQUIRED TO PROCEED VFR TO THE INITIAL FIX OF THE IFR CLEARANCE. AFTER TAKEOFF THE ACFT WAS OBSERVED HEADING NE TOWARD THE MOUNTAINS. ACFT DEPARTING ASPEN USUALLY FLY A NORTHERN HEADING, THEN TURN NE AFTER CLEARING THE MOUNTAINS. WITNESSES STATED THAT THE WEATHER WAS GOOD IN THE VALLEY NORTH OF THE ARPT, BUT THE MOUNTAIN TOPS EAST OF THE ARPT WERE OBSCURED BY LOW CLOUDS. THE ACFT CRASHED 3-1/2 MI NE OF THE ARPT AT THE 9,000 FT LEVEL OF AN 11,000 FT MOUNTAIN. THE LAST TIME THE PLT HAD FLOWN INTO ASPEN WAS IN 1980.

Probable Cause

Preflight planning/preparation..Inadequate..Pilot in command
VFR procedures..Not followed..Pilot in command
VFR flight into IMC..Continued..Pilot in command

Contributing Factors

Lack of familiarity with geographic area..Pilot in command
Weather condition..Clouds
Weather condition..Obscuration
Terrain condition..High terrain
Terrain condition..Mountainous/hilly
Terrain condition..Rising