NTSB Identification: LAX94FA005.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 03, 1993 in KERNVILLE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-300, registration: N4018W
Injuries: 3 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 recently certificated commercial pilot was attending a junior college flying team orientation session and practice safety and flight evaluation conference with two student passengers. At the completion of the event, all aircraft departed in VFR flight conditions for the same destination. Several different routes were flown by the different aircraft through the mountainous terrain. There were three canyon type routes on a more direct course toward the destination. All three had a road in the center of the canyon. On the sectional chart, the preferred canyon route with the lowest terrain was the only one shown with a road depicted. After takeoff, the accident flight followed a road and entered a canyon immediately to the north of the preferred route. The canyon gradually narrowed and eventually ended with an abrupt rise in terrain into a box canyon. The wreckage was found about 2,000 feet below the top of the surrounding terrain.

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

the pilot's inadvertent flight into a box canyon and his failure to attain a safe altitude. A factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of familiarity with the geographic area.

Full narrative available

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