NTSB Identification: BFO93FA129.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 01, 1993 in CALIFORNIA, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N5291L
Injuries: 1 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 PILOT TOOK OFF IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS INTO MARGINAL VFR AND/OR IMC CONDITIONS. NO WEATHER BRIEFING, FLIGHT PLAN, OR RADIO COMMUNICATIONS WERE RECORDED BY ANY FAA FACILITY. THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED TREES LESS THAN 1 MI FROM THE AIRPORT, AND WAS FOUND 17 DAYS LATER. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRPLANE DID NOT REVEAL ANY PRE=IMPACT MECHANICAL MALFUNCTIONS. THE AIRPLANE WAS FLOWN BY OTHER PILOTS FOR ABOUT 6 HRS TOTAL TIME 1 DAY PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT WITH NO SIGNIFICANT DISCREPANCIES NOTED. WITNESSES REPORTED THAT THE PILOT HAD AT LEAST 'ONE OR TWO' MIXED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES BEFORE 2100. THE MEDICAL EXAMINER PERFORMED A TOXICOLOGICAL ANALYSIS ON A SPECIMEN OF MUSCLE TISSUE TO SCREEN FOR ALCOHOL - THE FINDING WAS NEGATIVE. WITNESS STATEMENTS INDICATE THAT THE PILOT HAD BEEN AWAKE FOR OVER 18 HRS.

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

THE PILOT INITIATING VFR FLIGHT IN INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN A WEATHER BRIEFING, HIS LACK OF SLEEP, AND THE EXISTING WEATHER CONDITIONS.

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