NTSB Identification: LAX97LA079.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 29, 1996 in BANNING, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Grumman American AA-5A, registration: N9944U
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot told responding police officers that he was flying to the Banning airport to refuel when the engine began to sputter. He further stated that he was in the process of changing fuel tanks and did not see the high tension power lines. The officers reported that the accident site was in a canyon in the foothills north of the city. The power lines struck by the aircraft hang below the elevation of the canyon ridges where the towers are located. The lines are not marked. Several ground witnesses, including an off-duty Banning police sergeant, reported that they observed the aircraft flying low in the canyons near the accident site for at least a 15-minute period before the aircraft collided with power lines. Police officers at the accident site reported that they were concerned because fuel was leaking from both fuel tanks and posed a threat to a nearby stream.

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

The pilot's intentional low flight in an area of foothills and canyons at an altitude insufficient to maintain clearance from obstacles.

Full narrative available

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