NTSB Identification: LAX98LA126.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 21, 1998 in LONE PINE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/1999
Aircraft: Victor Marsh MARSH 1, registration: N166VP
Injuries: 2 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 pilot intended to fly his homebuilt airplane, with its 65 horsepower engine, in a westward direction over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. After departure from the 3,680-foot mean sea level (msl) Lone Pine Airport, the pilot circled the area to gain altitude. Eventually the pilot located a mountain pass and proceeded in a westerly direction toward his home in Tracy, California. The elevation of the underlying terrain began increasing faster than the airplane was climbing, so the pilot made a forced landing on the snow-covered mountainside. The accident site elevation is about 10,500 feet msl and is about 8 miles southeast of Mt. Whitney. In the pilot's completed report, he indicated that no mechanical malfunctions or failures were experienced during the accident flight in his experimental airplane.

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

The pilot's improper in-flight planning, misjudged terrain clearance, and failure to attain adequate altitude before attempting to traverse the mountain pass. Contributing factors were the high density altitude and the rising, mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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