Dining with Death: The 2001 Avjet Aspen crash

The wreckage of N303GA lies scattered near Aspen-Pitkin County Airport after the crash. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
Gulfstream III N303GA, the aircraft involved in the accident. (Code7700)
A view down one of Aspen’s main streets during winter. (Pure Vacations)
The planned route of N303GA. (Google)
How the published instrument approach for Aspen worked. (Own work)
N303GA’s planned route and alternate. (Google)
How the pilots planned to execute a visual approach into Aspen. Note that this requires good long-distance visibility. (Own work)
A view up the valley toward the airport where the pilots were trying to spot landmarks. (Google)
The new plan: a straight-in instrument approach. Note how this approach is identical to the circling approach until the runway is seen. (Own work)
An overview of the plane’s entire descent. Note where the plane descends below the MDA. (NTSB)
My sketch of the moment of first ground contact. (Own work)
Location of the accident site relative to the airport. The pilot was possibly trying to avoid the hill on the right when he lost control. (NTSB)
Investigators examine the tail section of the jet at the crash site. A yellow tarp covers human remains. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
An newspaper article analyzes what was known about the crash after two days. (the Louisville Courier-Journal)
A graphic from the Denver Post depicts what was known about the flight early in the investigation. (Denver Post)
Another private jet flies over the wreckage of N303GA while on approach to Aspen. (Aero News Network)
(The Nation)
Firefighters search the wreckage shortly after the crash. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)
A memorial at the crash site lists the names of the victims. Those who charter private jets should take to heart the lessons to be learned from their fate, lest they one day join them. (Pat Westwood)

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Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at kylanddempsey@gmail.com.

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Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg

Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at kylanddempsey@gmail.com.

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