NTSB Identification: LAX95FA088.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 28, 1995 in BIG BEAR CITY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/31/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9602J
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.

WITNESSES REPORTED OBSERVING NOTHING UNUSUAL DURING THE AIRPLANE'S TAKEOFF, EXCEPT THAT THE AIRPLANE ONLY CLIMBED TO ABOUT 300 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL AS IT PASSED THE DEPARTURE END OF RUNWAY 08. THE AIRPORT'S PUBLISHED DEPARTURE PROCEDURE IS TO TURN 10 DEGREES LEFT OF THE RUNWAY HEADING AND OVERFLY LEVEL TERRAIN. SECONDS AFTER TAKEOFF, THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED BEGINNING A RIGHT CROSSWIND TURN OVER RISING TERRAIN, AND IT COLLIDED WITH TREES AND A SNOW-COVERED MOUNTAINSIDE ABOUT 0.76 MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE AIRPORT. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRPLANE REVEALED THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AIR INDUCTION SYSTEM WAS PARTIALLY BLOCKED BY THE PRESENCE OF 2-INCH-THICK FOAM RUBBER COWL PLUGS. THE PLUGS HAD BEEN LOCATED IN FRONT OF THE NO. 1 AND 2 CYLINDERS, AND INSIDE THE CARBURETOR AIR SCOOP INLET. THE PLUGS EXHIBITED A HANDMADE APPEARANCE.

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

the pilot's improper preflight inspection during which he failed to insure removal of the induction air system inlet covers. This action resulted in a partial loss of engine power during initial climb. A factor which contributed to the accident was the pilot's decision to not follow published takeoff procedures which would have permitted flight over lower elevation terrain.

Full narrative available

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