NTSB Identification: LAX95LA111.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 18, 1995 in NOVATO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/19/1995
Aircraft: CESSNA 182C, registration: N9036T
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

ON A DARK NIGHT, WITH 10 MILES VISIBILITY, THE PILOT MADE A TRAFFIC PATTERN APPROACH TO RUNWAY 31 AT THE UNCONTROLLED AIRPORT. WHILE DESCENDING ON BASE LEG, THE PILOT ALLOWED THE AIRPLANE TO DRIFT SOUTH OF COURSE. THE AIRPLANE CONTINUED TO DESCEND, AND IT COLLIDED WITH AN UNMARKED HILL ABOUT 3/4 MILE SOUTH OF THE AIRPORT. THE PILOT SUBSEQUENTLY REPORTED THAT BECAUSE THERE WAS A 'LACK OF GROUND REFERENCE,' HE DID NOT OBSERVE THE RISING TERRAIN OR THE SOUTHERLY DRIFT.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain a proper base leg alignment while flying in the traffic pattern and his misjudged distance and altitude during the approach. A factor which contributed to the accident was the dark nighttime lighting condition which reduced the pilot's ability to perceive that he had drifted off course.

Full narrative available

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