NTSB Identification: SEA96LA169.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 25, 1996 in NEZ PERCE, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N61842
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

After takeoff, the pilot elected to turn up a valley which would provide the most direct route to his destination. Once committed to that route of flight, he realized that the aircraft could not out-climb the rising terrain. He attempted to land the aircraft at the point where its climb gradient intersected the terrain, but it impacted trees during his attempted emergency landing. Later calculations determined the density altitude to be approximately 5,000 feet.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight decision to turn up a canyon, which the aircraft was unable to out-climb. Factors relating to the accident were: high ambient temperature, high density altitude, blind/box canyon, and trees in the area where the aircraft's climb profile caused it to come in contact with the raising terrain.

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