NTSB Identification: LAX97FA286.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 21, 1997 in CUYAMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N6141D
Injuries: 1 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 pilot had rented the airplane for a local area sightseeing flight over nearby mountainous terrain, and he departed with full fuel tanks at 1805. The operator and family members believed that the pilot intended to return by 1930. No communications with or witness sightings of the airplane were reported following departure. The pilot initially headed in a northwesterly direction toward the Santa Ynez area. About 1 2/3 months later, the wreckage was discovered about 21 miles north of Santa Barbara. A postimpact ground fire destroyed most of the wreckage, and insufficient remains existed for performance of an autopsy or toxicology tests. An examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failures. Based upon ground scar evidence and the partial reconstruction of the wreckage, the airplane collided with the mountainside while descending (or maneuvering) nearly perpendicular to the face of the 40 degree upsloping mountainside at 5,400 feet msl. No unusual weather phenomena were observed or reported in the area of the accident site.

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

undetermined.

Full narrative available

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