At 1212 Mountain time, the airplane collided with terrain. The private pilot/owner sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage from impact forces and a post-crash fire. Visual conditions prevailed.
This was the airplane’s first flight following an annual inspection; the pilot was returning to his home airport. A witness talked with the pilot about the work just completed and accompanied the pilot to the airplane. He observed the pilot check the level of the fuel tanks and taxi for takeoff at about 1200. Subsequently, a witness driving on nearby Interstate 40 observed the airplane fly into the mountain and burst into flames. The main wreckage was at a GPS elevation of 1845 feet.