NTSB Identification: SEA95FA018.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 08, 1994 in KLAMATH FALLS, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/1995
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N584WA
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 PRIVATE PILOT, WHO WAS NOT INSTRUMENT RATED, RECEIVED AN ACCURATE WEATHER BRIEFING FOR A CROSS COUNTRY BUSINESS FLIGHT OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN AT NIGHT. DURING THE FLIGHT, THE WEATHER CONDITIONS WORSENED, AS FORECAST. THE PILOT WAS TOLD OF THE WORSENING CONDITIONS. HE REPORTED TO AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (ATC) THAT HE WAS ENTERING OBSCURATION AND EVENTUALLY LOST GROUND CONTACT. THE REPORTED WEATHER CONDITIONS NEAR THE ACCIDENT SITE INDICATED THAT THE CLOUDS, SNOW, AND GUSTING WINDS EXISTED AT THE ALTITUDE THE AIRPLANE WAS FLYING. ATC PROVIDED VECTORS, BUT THE PILOT GRADUALLY DESCENDED AND VEERED TOWARD RISING TERRAIN. THE PILOT STATED THAT THE AIRPLANE THEN ENCOUNTERED A STRONG DOWNDRAFT AND THAT HE COULD NOT CLIMB FASTER THAN THE RISING TERRAIN. THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED A TREE NEAR THE 7,200 FOOT LEVEL OF A MOUNTAIN. THE PILOT WAS SERIOUSLY INJURED AND WAS RESCUED 22 HOURS AFTER THE ACCIDENT. THE PASSENGER WAS FATALLY INJURED. NO PRE-IMPACT MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONS WERE REPORTED.

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

THE VFR PILOT'S ATTEMPT TO CONTINUE THE FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ALTITUDE/CLEARANCE WITH THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN BELOW HIM. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS A DOWNDRAFT.

Full narrative available

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