NTSB Identification: LAX96FA249.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 23, 1995 in DEATH VALLEY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/08/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N7304P
Injuries: 1 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 non-instrument rated pilot departed northern California on December 23, 1995, on a cross-country flight to Arizona. He did not file a flight plan. He failed to arrive and a search was initiated without success. On June 27, 1996, microwave technicians spotted the wreckage en route to an antenna site. The aircraft collided with the crest of a ridge line in a near level cruise flight attitude. The emergency locator beacon had been destroyed by impact and postcrash fire damage. A resort in the area had been called during the initial search to see if the pilot landed there as he had in the past. Resort personnel reported that there had been no aircraft traffic that day due to low clouds, rain, and snow showers. The wreckage was located about 16 miles from the resort.

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

the non-instrument rated pilot's intentional VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

Full narrative available

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