NTSB Identification: LAX93FA215.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 16, 1993 in GRASS VALLEY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-161, registration: N26075
Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 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 SAID THAT HE AND HIS THREE PASSENGERS WERE FLYING A NIGHT CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT TO GO ON A CAMPING TRIP. HE SAID THAT HE BECAME DISORIENTED AND APPROACHED WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS HIS DESTINATION. HE SAID IT WAS A DARK NIGHT AND THAT HE NOTED THE RUNWAY ALIGNMENT WAS NOT 'CORRECT'. HE ACTIVATED THE AIRPORT'S RUNWAY LIGHT AND STARTED AN APPROACH TO LAND. DURING THE APPROACH, HE DISCOVERED THAT THE AIRPORT WAS NOT HIS DESTINATION AIRPORT. HE SAID HE DECIDED TO LAND AND DETERMINE HIS LOCATION. HE SAID THAT ON SHORT FINAL HE NOTED THAT HE WAS TOO HIGH TO LAND AND HE DECIDED TO MAKE A GO AROUND. THE PILOT SAID HE INCREASED TO FULL POWER AND COULD NOT GET A POSITIVE RATE OF CLIMB. HE SAID HE THOUGHT HE GOT 'ONE NOTCH OF FLAPS OUT'. HE SAID HE TURNED TO THE LEFT TO AVOID RISING TERRAIN. DURING THE TURN THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH TREES AND CAUGHT ON FIRE. EXAMINATION OF THE FLAP HANDLE INDICATED THE FLAPS WERE FULLY RETRACTED. AN EXAMINATION OF THE AIRPLANE AND ENGINE DID NOT REVEAL ANY PRE EXISTING DEFICIENCIES.

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

THE PILOT PREMATURELY RAISING THE AIRPLANE'S FLAPS AT AN AIRSPEED INSUFFICIENT TO MAINTAIN FLIGHT WHICH RESULTED IN AN INADVERTENT STALL MUSH CONDITION. A FACTOR IN THIS ACCIDENT WAS THE DARKNESS OF THE NIGHT.

Full narrative available

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