NTSB Identification: LAX93FA223.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 25, 1993 in LOMPOC, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/19/1994
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N4783J
Injuries: 2 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 AIRCRAFT DEPARTED PALM SPRINGS AIRPORT AT ABOUT 2335 HOURS ON A FLIGHT TO LOMPOC, CALIFORNIA. AN ELT SIGNAL WAS RECEIVED AT ABOUT 0930 HOURS THE FOLLOWING MORNING BY NEARBY AIR FORCE BASE PERSONNEL. A SEARCH WAS INITIATED, AND THE AIRPLANE WAS LOCATED AT ABOUT 1310 HOURS. IMPACT OCCURRED ON A HILLSIDE ABOUT 5 MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE AIRPORT. WITNESSES IN THE AREA REPORTED THAT THE MOUNTAIN TOPS NEAR THE ACCIDENT SITE WERE OBSCURED WITH NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY. THE AIRPLANE HIT A HILL AT THE 1487 FOOT LEVEL, APPROXIMATELY 50 FEET FROM THE TOP OF THE HILL. THE PILOT BEGAN THE FLIGHT AFTER WORKING FROM 1500 HOURS TO 2330 HOURS. HE FILED A VFR FLIGHT PLAN, BUT DID NOT ACTIVATE IT. THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED TAKING OFF ON A CLOSED RUNWAY AT PALM SPRINGS AIRPORT. THE PILOT HAD 2 HOURS OF ACTUAL INSTRUMENT TIME. THE NDB-B APPROACH PLATE FOR LOMPOC, CALIFORNIA WAS FOUND CLIPPED OPEN IN THE AIRCRAFT.

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

VFR FLIGHT BY THE PILOT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROPER ALTITUDE (OR CLEARANCE) FROM MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. FACTORS RELATING TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE LOW CEILING, FOG, DRIZZLE, OBSCURATION, AND MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.

Full narrative available

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