NTSB Identification: LAX94FA004.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, October 02, 1993 in PETALUMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/20/1994
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N45022
Injuries: 4 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 AIRPLANE WAS ON A CROSS-COUNTY FLIGHT ON A BRIGHT MOONLIT NIGHT FROM RENO, NV, TO PETALUMA, CA. DURING ARRIVAL, THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH RISING TERRAIN ABOUT 4 MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE AIRPORT AT ABOUT 400' MSL. ABOUT 25 MILES NORTH- WEST AT SONOMA COUNTY AIRPORT, THE 2340 PDT WEATHER WAS IN PART: 400' OVERCAST, 10 MILES VISIBILITY, WIND FROM 140 DEG AT 5 KTS. A COMMERCIAL PILOT REPORTED THAT EARLIER THAT EVENING, CLOUD BASES AT PETALUMA WERE BETWEEN 300' & 400' AGL. ON THE FOLLOWING MORNING, CLOUD BASES WERE STILL PRESENT AT ABOUT 400' AGL. THE AIRPLANE WAS EQUIPPED WITH DUAL VOR'S & LORAN & THERE WAS A PORTABLE GPS RECEIVER ABOARD. THE AIRPORT HAD A VOR (RWY 29) APPROACH. MINIMUM DESCENT ALTITUDE FOR THAT APPROACH WAS 1080' MSL, BUT THE FLIGHT HAD NO FLIGHT PLAN OR ATC CLEARANCE. THE OWNER/PILOT WAS NOT INSTRUMENT RATED, THOUGH ANOTHER PILOT, WHO WAS ABOARD, HAD A PRIVATE PILOT CERTIFICATE WITH AN INSTRUMENT RATING. INVESTIGATION DID NOT DETERMINE WHICH PILOT WAS FLYING THE AIRPLANE. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OF THE AIRPLANE WAS FOUND.

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

VFR FLIGHT BY THE PILOT(S) INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), AND FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A PROPER ALTITUDE AND/OR CLEARANCE FROM TERRAIN, WHILE APPROACHING THE DESTINATION AIRPORT. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE LOW CEILING AND TERRAIN.

Full narrative available

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