NTSB Identification: LAX98FA009.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 12, 1997 in TRACY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/08/1999
Aircraft: Bellanca 7ECA, registration: N11860
Injuries: 1 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 pilot took off from a local airport about 40 minutes prior to the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Family members on the ground witnessed the aircraft flying over wires, which were on the west side of the bean field during previous low passes. The same family members noticed the airplane flying from west to east while attempting to fly under a power line, which paralleled a road. The witnesses indicated that the right wing clipped the power line and the aircraft struck the ground and cartwheeled about 100 yards east of the roadway. The pilot had obtained his private pilot certificate approximately 7 months prior to the accident and had accumulated about 62 hours of documented flight time. A toxicology examination of samples from the pilot yielded positive results for Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine, Phenylpropanolamine, and Ephedrine. Brompheniramine commonly results in drowsiness and has a measurable effect on performance of complex cognitive and motor tasks. Pseudoephedrine, Edhedrine, and Phenylpropanolamine all usually result in increased levels of alertness.

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

The pilot's low operating altitude and his failure to maintain appropriate clearance during low level maneuvering flight. Contributing factors were transmission wires and the physical impairment that resulted from the effects of the over-the-counter medications found during toxicological evaluation.

Full narrative available

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