NTSB Identification: LAX98LA025.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 11, 1997 in DESERT CENTER, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Ciernia GLASAIR-III, registration: N153JC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 aircraft is equipped with dual electronic ignition instead of magnetos. After leveling off on top, the pilot noticed that his panel indicated a loss of electrical power. After the battery was depleted, the engine quit and the aircraft descended into IMC conditions. After breaking out, he initiated a forced landing. The aircraft struck a berm and slid to a stop. The pilot stated that the alternator switch was on and that the alternator out warning light had not illuminated prior to his electrical loss. After recovery, the batteries were charged and the engine was started. When the alternator switch was moved to the off position, the alternator out warning light did not illuminate. The continuity of the light bulb was confirmed. The light socket failed a similar continuity check. The flight instructor who checked the pilot out in the aircraft reported that he did not always use the checklist and had forgotten to turn the alternator switch on before starting on several occasions.

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

A loss of engine power due to the eventual loss of electrical power which resulted from the pilot's failure to ensure the alternator switch was on as specified in the before starting checklist. The inoperative alternator out warning light was a factor in this accident.

Full narrative available

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