NTSB Identification: LAX99FA162.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 24, 1999 in TRONA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Globe GC-1B, registration: N80720
Injuries: 2 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 flew over a campground at an altitude that was less than 100 feet. The pilot and several friends subsequently visited the campground. One of the female campers asked for an airplane ride, and this pilot volunteered. The airplane made three passes directly over the campground; each pass was successively lower. The altitude was estimated at less than 100 feet for all three passes. The sun had set, and the airplane appeared in silhouette as it passed by. After the third pass, the airplane was observed to make a hard right turn and angle down. A sun and moon computer program determined there was 75 percent illumination of the moon and civil twilight was at 2033. No discrepancies were found with the airplane or engine. Positive results for amitriptyline and nortriptyline were obtained from blood and liver samples. The doctor who prescribed this medication was not the pilot's Aviation Medical Examiner. The doctor told the Safety Board Medical Officer the patient had not reported any daytime sedation due to this medication. The doctor was not aware his patient was a pilot. FAA Aviation Medical Examiners are instructed (1996 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, page 21) to defer certification to the FAA Aeromedical Certification division for any airman on "mood-ameliorating" medication. A certified copy of the pilot's application for a medical certificate did not list amitriptyline in block 17 "Do you currently use any medication (Prescription or Nonprescription)."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain an adequate terrain clearance altitude while performing intentional low altitude passes over a campground. Full narrative available
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