Wind shear contributes to crash

This April 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.Aircraft: Beech Bonanza.
Location: Sedona, Ariz.
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The airport is located on a plateau with terrain that drops off steeply at both ends of the single runway. Wind gusts at the runway surface were recorded at 38 knots at the time of the accident. A pilot who landed at the airport just before the accident airplane reported severe turbulence and a 30-knot windshear at the approach end of the runway. He transmitted that information to the accident pilot.

According to witnesses, the accident airplane appeared to get low and slow while on final, then descended below the elevation of the approach end of the runway. As it dropped below the level of the runway, a witness reported that the airplane assumed a nose high attitude, and the engine sounded as if it were operating at full power. The airplane rolled to the right and hit rising terrain short of the runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for the high wind conditions and wind shear encounter on final approach, that led to a failure to maintain an adequate airspeed and a stall.


  1. KMS says

    I don’t know the HP of the particular Bonanza, but the larger Continentals have plenty of power to get out of trouble. Higher approach speeds are also easily possible since the nose gear is forward of the engine, braking is very quick and responsive unlike a higher wing Cessna with nose gear attached behind the engine. Again, not knowing the length of the RNWY, it’s difficult to assess how much speed could be carried to approach but 90-120kts are easily possible with short stopping distances if you don’t mind paying for new brake linings.

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