July 8, 2010, Estes Park, Colo., Champion 8KCAB Decathlon


At approximately 1430 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain. The two pilots sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

While crossing a mountain pass, the pilot attempted a 360-degree turn to gain additional altitude but flew into a strong downdraft that he could not escape. The pilot said the airplane was descending very steeply even with full power and with the airspeed at best rate of climb speed. The airplane impacted upsloping terrain in a heavily forested area in a remote canyon. The impact locations elevation was approximately 11,000 feet msl.

The airplanes 406 MHz ELT activated and satellites transmitted its location to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center approximately 20 minutes after impact. Civil Air Patrol aircraft then began searching for the downed airplane and located it approximately 30 minutes before sundown. A National Park Service rescue team hiked all night long into the wilderness area and reached the two survivors the next morning at 0648.


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