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Sat, May 12, 2012

Internal FAA Memo Reportedly Questions Airspace Around Superstition Mountain

Site Of A Thanksgiving Eve Accident Which Fatally Injured Six

An internal FAA memo has surfaced which may have ramifications on an investigation into an accident which occurred on Thanksgiving Eve last year. In an enterprise report, television station KITP says that the memo calls into question altitude restrictions near Superstition Mountain, where the accident occurred.

Six people were fatally injured when the aircraft, a Rockwell 690, impacted the mountain shortly after takeoff from Falcon Field (KFFZ) in Mesa, AZ. Among those aboard were three children. Their father was the pilot and co-owner of the aircraft, according to the NTSB preliminary report. The accident happened at night.

In the memo, which was prepared by FAA investigators at the scene of the accident and leaked this week to the TV station, the FAA writes "The airspace design with regard to obstacle (terrain) clearance is not sufficient to ensure a margin of safety necessary to preclude the possibility of an accident similar to the one that occurred on November 23, 2011."

Jim Timm, executive director of the Arizona Pilots Association, told the station he'd been warning the FAA about the airspace "for years."

The FAA says it will not comment on a matter involved in an ongoing investigation.



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