NTSB Identification: LAX96FA340.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 21, 1996 in CALIENTE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N2393W
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 noncertificated dual student made a business trip with friends to a destination with a dirt airstrip. He retained a flight instructor (CFI) to provide instruction in the airplane along the route. During arrival, the CFI took control of the airplane and maneuvered to land on the east/west runway. The wind was reportedly from 290 degrees at 5 gusting 10 knots. A ground witness observed the airplane make a downwind low approach. A passenger said that the instructor circled the area to alert the student pilot's friends. The airplane was then observed to reenter the traffic pattern and land downwind. The airplane's speed was excessive and a go-around was initiated. The airplane disappeared from the ground witness' view. After the aborted landing, the airplane entered a box canyon area. Reportedly, the instructor initiated a turn between 90 and 110 degrees, and the stall warning buzzer sounded. The airplane then struck trees and crashed in a nose-down attitude. Postaccident examination of the airplane disclosed no evidence of a preimpact malfunction or failure.

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

improper in-flight planning/decision by the flight instructor (CFI) by allowing the airplane to flying into a box canyon area, and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and collision with wooded terrain. The CFI's selection of the wrong runway and the resultant tailwind were related factors.

Full narrative available

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