A witness reported that he observed the Cessna 150 at an altitude of between 800 to 1,000 feet above ground level about two miles from his location.
About the same time, he also heard the airplane’s engine sputter, and he then observed the airplane in a vertical, nose-down attitude for three to four seconds before it went out of sight behind a hill.
The wreckage was found about two hours later in remote mountainous, rocky terrain near Santa Clara, Utah. Both occupants of the plane were killed in the crash.
An on-site examination of the airframe and engine revealed that the airplane hit terrain upright in a flat orientation on a 27° downslope.
Based on observed impact signatures, the airplane’s forward momentum was negligible just before it hit terrain.
Based on the witness’s observations and the physical evidence observed at the accident site, it is likely that the airplane was in a steep descent at a low altitude and that the flight instructor failed to pull the airplane up and out of the nose-down attitude at a sufficient altitude to preclude impact with terrain.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the flight instructor’s failure to arrest the airplane’s descent and maintain clearance from mountainous terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude.
NTSB Identification: WPR14FA183
This May 2014 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.