On February 19, 2012, approximately 3:30pm mountain standard time, a Cessna 414A federally registered as N4772A crashed while on approach to land at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport (KHDN), in Hayden, Colorado.
The commercial pilot and one passenger were fatally injured and four passengers were seriously injured. The Cessna 414 series aircraft use the same airframe as the Cessna 421 and 425 aircraft, but with substantially less power from its smaller continental engines. The Cessna 414 is restricted to carrying a more limited load and has a greatly restricted weight and balance envelope.
The NTSB preliminary report suggests that the plane encountered an aerodynamic stall in a left turn, but that analysis seems overly simplistic. Many years ago I was flying a Cessna 414A from Grand Cayman Island to Miami and when over Cuban airspace, developed an oil leak on the right engine, requiring a reduction of power. That was an eye-opener on the handling qualities and characteristics of the Cessna 414A in reduced power conditions.
Our firm has handled several cases arising from crashes of Cessna 414 and 421 aircraft due to a variety of adverse conditions, including loss of an engine and icing. In a published appellate decision, we defeated a GARA defense in a Cessna 421 case involving misrepresentation of the airplane’s single engine handling qualities and characteristics. There are a number of areas that should be carefully reviewed when investigating the crash of any aircraft and particularly a 400 series, piston-powered Cessna.