September 17, 1984

Independence Pass

NTSB Identification: DEN84FA293 For details, refer to NTSB microfiche number 26957A

Accident occurred SEP-17-84 at ASPEN, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N78680
Injuries: 2 Serious.

AFTER TAKEOFF FROM A VALLEY AIRSTRIP IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, PLT ELECTED TO CLIMB OUT STRAIGHT AHEAD TOWARD RISING TERRAIN INSTEAD OF CIRCLING TO GAIN ALTITUDE FIRST (NORMAL PROCEDURE). APPROACHING MOUNTAIN PASS, ACFT WAS OBSERVED CLIMBING BELOW LEVEL OF THE HIGHWAY. NO ATTEMPT TO REVERSE COURSE NOTED. ACFT MUSHED INTO TERRAIN. PLT CITED ADVERSE WINDS AT THE PASS. INVESTIGATION SHOWED DENSITY ALTITUDE WAS 14664 FT.

Probable Cause

Clearance..Not attained..Pilot in command

Contributing Factors

Preflight planning/preparation..Inadequate..Pilot in command
VFR procedures..Not followed..Pilot in command
Terrain condition..Mountainous/hilly
Terrain condition..Rising
Weather condition..High density altitude
Weather condition..Unfavorable wind