Date & Time: Dec 18, 2012 at 1825 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N62959
Flight Phase:
Flight
Flight Type:
Cargo
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Holbrook - Payson - Phoenix
MSN:
31-7752008
YOM:
1977
Flight number:
AMF3853
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
1
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
0
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1908
Captain / Total hours on type:
346
Circumstances:
On December 18, 2012, about 1825 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-31-350, N62959, was lost from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radio and radar contact about 10 miles southwest of Payson, Arizona, during an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona. The wreckage was located the following day; the pilot had received fatal injuries. The flight was being operated as Ameriflight 3853 as a cargo flight for United Parcel Service (UPS), and was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity at the time contact with the airplane was lost. According to information from representatives of Ameriflight and UPS, the flight departed Holbrook Municipal Airport (P14), Holbrook, Arizona, about its scheduled time of 1700, with a scheduled arrival time of 1730 at Payson Airport (PAN), Payson. According to the driver of the UPS truck who was at PAN and was scheduled to meet the flight, he never saw or heard the airplane. The driver left PAN about 20 minutes after the flight was due. According to FAA air traffic control (ATC) information, the flight's first ATC contact was with Albuquerque air route traffic control center about 1812, when the airplane was at an altitude of 13,800 feet; the pilot requested a clearance to PHX. The flight was assigned a discrete transponder code, radar identified, and then instructed to proceed "direct" to PHX. The flight was instructed to be at 10,000 feet when it was 40 miles from PHX. Shortly after the airplane reached the assigned altitude, the pilot requested a lower altitude; his request was denied due to ATC minimum vectoring altitude limitations. Shortly thereafter, radio and radar contact was lost. The last primary radar target associated with the airplane was recorded at 1824:33, at a location of N34º 06.4794' by W111º 28.2604'. Weather conditions in the area precluded an aerial search until the following day. About 0950 MST on December 19, 2012, the wreckage was located at the same approximate latitude/longitude as the last radar target associated with the airplane, at an approximate elevation of about 7,000 feet. The accident site was located about 12.4 miles, on a true bearing of about 213 degrees, from PAN.