NTSB Identification: LAX99FA090.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 04, 1999 in JOSHUA TREE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/16/2001
Aircraft: North American T-28C, registration: N128BJ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of the lead aircraft in the two-aircraft formation received a preflight weather briefing that included an AIRMET for mountain obscuration throughout the intended area of flight. The area forecast was for broken ceilings at 1,500 to 2,500 feet and a second broken layer at 3,000 to 5,000 feet. When the aircraft did not arrive at their destination, a search was initiated and the two airplanes were found on a mountain slope at 5,300 feet msl. The lead aircraft impacted the slope about 250 feet below a ridgeline. The wingman impacted on the same slope approximately 220 feet further up the slope and offset 30 feet to the right. Park service rangers reported that weather near the accident site at the time consisted of overcast clouds with the tops of the mountains intermittently obscured in clouds, snow, and light rain. Scattered clouds locally obscured lower terrain. The nearest weather reporting point, 17 miles distant, reported an overcast cloud layer at 5,300 feet msl.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's decision to attempt flight into an area of known adverse weather and the subsequent inadvertent VFR flight into IFR conditions resulting in an in-flight collision with mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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