NTSB Identification: LAX95FA157.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 08, 1995 in POLLACK PINES, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/29/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-180, registration: N3904T
Injuries: 4 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.

THERE WAS NO RECORD THAT THE PILOT RECEIVED A PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING FROM THE FAA OR NWS SYSTEMS. THE PILOT TOLD THE OPERATOR HE CHANGED HIS DESTINATION DUE TO HIGH WINDS TO AN AREA WITH BETTER WEATHER. THE PILOT CHANGED HIS DESTINATION A SECOND TIME WITHOUT TELLING THE OPERATOR TO AN AIRPORT THAT WOULD REQUIRE CROSSING THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS. HIGH WINDS WERE ALSO FORECASTED FOR THE MOUNTAINS. A CENTER WEATHER WATCH WAS BROADCASTED BY APPROACH CONTROL, WHILE THE PILOT WAS ON THE FREQUENCY, FORECASTING MODERATE AND OCCASIONAL SEVERE TURBULENCE, STRONG UP-AND-DOWN DRAFTS, LOW LEVEL WIND SHEAR, AND WIND GUSTS UP TO 45 KNOTS. THE CLOSEST WEATHER OBSERVATION STATION WAS UPWIND OF THE ACCIDENT SITE. THE STATION HAD TAKEN SIX SPECIAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS IN ADDITION TO TWO SCHEDULED OBSERVATIONS DUE TO CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS. THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED DESCENDING UNCONTROLLED WITHOUT THE TAIL BY NUMEROUS WITNESSES. ICE WAS OBSERVED ON THE WINGS, IN AN INDUCTION HOSE, AND THE RAM AIR PORT OF THE PITOT STATIC SYSTEM AFTER THE ACCIDENT.

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

The pilot's disregard of a hazardous weather advisory; his decision to fly into known adverse weather conditions; his failure to maintain control of the airplane with an accumulation of airframe ice; and his improper use of the flight controls during recovery from the inflight upset exceeding the airplane's stress limits. The adverse weather and airframe ice were factors in the accident.

Full narrative available

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