NTSB Identification: LAX94FA272.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 1994 in SO. LAKE TAHOE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/18/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N4321N
Injuries: 3 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 BEGAN HIS TAKEOFF FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE 8,544-FOOT- LONG RUNWAY. AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER OBSERVED THE AIRPLANE BECOME AIRBORNE AFTER ROLLING BETWEEN 2,500 AND 3,000 FEET. WITNESSES REPORTED THE AIRPLANE PITCHED UP AND DOWN SEVERAL TIMES AND WAS FLYING SLOWLY AS IT CLIMBED BETWEEN 100 AND 200 FEET AGL. WHILE STILL OVER THE RUNWAY AND OUT OF GROUND EFFECT, THE AIRPLANE COMMENCED A STEEP (45 TO 90 DEGREE) LEFT BANK AND CRASHED INTO A FIELD 900 FEET EAST OF THE RUNWAY. WRECKAGE AND GROUND IMPACT SIGNATURES WERE CONSISTENT WITH THE AIRPLANE HAVING COLLIDED WITH THE TERRAIN WHILE IN AN 80-DEGREE LEFT BANK. NO MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONS WERE FOUND WITH THE AIRPLANE. DURING THE PRECEDING 20-MONTH-LONG PERIOD SINCE THE PILOT RECEIVED A PRIVATE PILOT CERTIFICATE, HE HAD FLOWN AIRPLANES FOR 6 HOURS. HIS TOTAL EXPERIENCE IN THE PIPER AIRPLANE WAS 3.1 HOURS OF WHICH 1.4 HOURS HAD BEEN A CHECKOUT FLIGHT GIVEN BY A CFI. THE CFI REPORTED HE HAD NOT CHECKED OUT THE PILOT AT HIGH-DENSITY ALTITUDE AIRPORTS. THE CALCULATED DENSITY ALTITUDE WAS ABOUT 8,570 FEET.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during initial climb under high-density altitude weather conditions and a resultant inadvertent stall/spin. Factors which contributed to the accident were the pilot's overconfidence in his personal ability, and his lack of experience flying the airplane.

Full narrative available

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