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Tue, Sep 30, 2008

Pilot Lost In PC-12 NG Accident Near SAF

Plane Crashed Two Miles From Airport On Moonless Night

A 54-year-old man returning home to Santa Fe, NM was killed Monday evening, when his Pilatus PC-12/47E crashed near Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF.)

KOB-4 reports Richard Gardner was the pilot and sole person onboard the single-engine turboprop, which crashed around 10:20 pm local time, approximately two miles from the runway.

"I saw the airplane and I thought it was really low, and it was weird that I saw it falling down, and I don’t know if it was already on fire because I could see the plane and it just flipped over and just came straight down and exploded," said witness Irene Herrera.

Witnesses described a small explosion as the plane impacted hills west of the airport, followed by a much larger blast. Wreckage was scattered throughout a roughly quarter-mile area.

The accident plane was manufactured in 2008, and was among the first "PC-12 NG" models delivered in the United States. The NG (shown below) sports an uprated PT6A-67P turbine powerplant, and a full Honeywell Primus Apex glass panel. The type received joint FAA and EASA certification in April.

Online flight tracking data shows the accident aircraft was on an IFR flight plan from Teterboro, NJ. Gardner diverted to Lubbock, TX -- presumably for fuel -- before continuing on to SAF. The accident flight was the third leg shown for the day; N606SL started out from Akron, OH early Monday morning, bound for Teterboro.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano said Gardner did not radio a distress call. The Class D tower at SAF was closed at the time of the accident.

Conditions were clear at the time of the crash, with little to no ambient light available from the New Moon. SAF lies southwest of the city, and the area surrounding the airport is largely unincorporated.

IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 606SL        Make/Model: PC12      Description: PC-12, Eagle
  Date: 09/30/2008     Time: 0440

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

LOCATION
  City: SANTA FE   State: NM   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ONE PERSON ON BOARD WAS
  FATALLY INJURED, 4 MILES FROM SANTA FE, NM

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   

WEATHER: 0453Z SAF 11007 10SM CLR 16/01 A3044

OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: ALBUQUERQUE, NM  (SW01)               Entry date: 09/30/2008

FMI: www.faa.gov

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