ASN Aircraft accident Martin 4-0-4 N40438 Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ (GCN)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 16 November 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic M404 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Martin 4-0-4
Operator:Nevada Airlines
Registration: N40438
MSN: 14173
First flight: 1952
Total airframe hrs:30451
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 41
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 44
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ (GCN) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ (GCN/KGCN), United States of America
Destination airport:Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV (LAS/KLAS), United States of America
The Martin 4-0-4 had been chartered to fly tourists to the Grand Canyon. Flight 2504 took off at 09:35 and landed at the National Park Airport around 10:45.
Takeoff for the return flight was started a t 14:50 from runway 3. The copilot was to make the takeoff from the right seat. The weather was clear, visibility unlimited, and winds were from 040deg at 15 knots. Immediately after raising the gear a loss of power from the left engine was sensed. The captain took control of the aircraft from the copilot and noticed that the left engine autofeather light was illuminated and the feather button depressed. After passing the runway the aircraft encountered a downdraft and turbulence which overcame the single engine climb performance of the aircraft. The airspeed had decreased to 105 knots and the temperature of the right engine cylinder head was rising rapidly toward the maximum limit, so the captain reduced the manifold pressure about 2 inHg to avoid engine failure. However, the inability of the aircraft to climb and the proximity of the terrain required the crew to return the right engine to full power and select a forced-landing area. The Martin collided with trees 7531 feet past the end of runway 03 and 2447 feet left of the extended centerline. The aircraft was destroyed by post-impact fire.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The unwanted autofeather of the left propeller just after take-off and an encounter with turbulence and downdrafts, a combination which exceeded the aircraft's single-engine climb capability which had been degraded by the high density altitude and a turn to avoid an obstacle in the flight path. Also, the available climb margin was reduced by the rising terrain along the flight path. The cause(s) for the unwanted autofeather of the left propeller could not be determined."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 194 days (6 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-80-07
Download report: Final report

» NTSB-AAR-80-7


photo of Martin-4-0-4-N40438
accident date: 16-11-1979
type: Martin 4-0-4
registration: N40438

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Grand Canyon-National Park Airport, AZ to Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport, NV as the crow flies is 269 km (168 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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