NTSB Identification: LAX97FA003.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 05, 1996 in GRAND CANYON, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 172RG, registration: N6267R
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.

The recently certificated private pilot ordered that the aircraft be fueled to capacity, which resulted in it being about 90 pounds over its maximum certificated gross weight for takeoff. The aircraft departed the mountain airport at 8,100 foot density altitude, and it climbed toward gradually rising terrain. The pilot radioed that he was unable to climb. The pilot of another aircraft observed the accident aircraft fly approximately 5 miles at treetop level with the wings rocking and that it was in a nose high attitude before impacting treetops and crashing. The aircraft had climbed approximately 400 feet from the runway to the accident site. No evidence of a mechanical discrepancy was found.

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

the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and preparation, which resulted in an inability to outclimb rising/wooded terrain after takeoff. Factors relating to the accident were: failure of the pilot to ensure that the aircraft's gross weight was not exceed for takeoff, high density altitude, the pilot's lack of experience in high density altitude operations, and the rising/mountainous terrain condition.

Full narrative available

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