NTSB Identification: LAX97FA225.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 28, 1997 in MORENO VALLEY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Cessna R172K, registration: N7373K
Injuries: 2 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.

There is no record of the pilot having received a weather briefing before takeoff. Radar data showed the aircraft following a highway toward higher terrain at approximately the altitude of the cloud bases. At the end of the radar data the aircraft climbed until radar contact was lost near the accident site in mountainous/hilly terrain. Witnesses at the accident site reported that the aircraft flew 300 to 400 feet over their position and was barely visible in the base of the clouds. The engine was 'straining' and then they heard the plane crash. Rescue personnel said that at the time of their arrival the visibility at the site was about 50 feet in fog.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his attempt to climb through a low stratus cloud layer while in mountainous/hilly terrain. The pilot's failure to obtain a weather briefing, the weather, and the terrain were factors.

Full narrative available

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