NTSB Identification: LAX99FA091.
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Accident occurred Friday, February 05, 1999 in MARIPOSA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 150J, registration: N50878
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.

During a dark night landing approach, the aircraft collided with trees and terrain while on base leg for runway 26. Following a telephone conversation between the pilot and his wife, during which he indicated that he was emotionally upset, the pilot took off with the intention of flying 26 miles to his home-base airport. The uncontrolled airport's rotating beacon, runway lights, and visual approach slope indicator system (VASI) were functional. As the pilot approached the airport he made several radio transmissions during which he indicated his landing intentions. The airplane prematurely descended. On the traffic pattern's base leg, about 0.5 miles from the approach end of the runway, the airplane collided with trees and terrain. The distance between the initial point of impact and the main wreckage was 222 feet. The airframe and engine were subsequently examined. No malfunctions were noted. Remains of a recently purchased vodka bottle were found in the wreckage. The toxicological examination revealed the presence of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Ethanol was detected in the pilot's blood, vitreous fluid, and urine. The blood level was reported at 0.246 percent, over 6 times the FAA limit.

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

The pilot's premature descent into terrain during a dark nighttime approach. Also causal was his physiological impairment due to alcohol. A contributing factor was his psychological condition.

Full narrative available

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