Witnesses at a gun club in Paulden, Ariz., reported observing the Cessna 340A make a high-speed, low pass from north to south over the club’s buildings and then maneuver around for another low pass from east to west.
During the second low pass, the plane hit a radio tower that was about 50 feet tall, and the right wing sheared off about 10 feet of the tower’s top.
The tower’s base was triangular shaped, and each of its sides was about 2 feet long.
One witness reported that the airplane remained in a straight-and-level attitude until it hit the tower. It then rolled right to an almost inverted position and subsequently hit trees and terrain about 700 feet southwest of the initial impact point. All four people aboard the airplane were killed.
One witness reported that, about three to four years before the accident, the pilot, who was a client of the gun club, had “buzzed” over the club and had been told to never do so again.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient altitude to clear a radio tower while maneuvering at low altitude and his decision to make a high-speed, low pass over the gun club.
NTSB Identification: WPR14LA005
This October 2013 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.