NTSB Identification: LAX92LA190.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 46733.
Accident occurred Sunday, April 26, 1992 in MAMMOTH LAKES, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/18/1994
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N33248
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

BEFORE TAKEOFF, THE PLT RECEIVED A WX BRIEFING & A LOCAL AUTOMATED WX OBSERVATION THAT REPORTED STANDING LENTICULAR CLOUDS & 9100' DENSITY ALTITUDE. HE TOOK OFF ON RWY 27, WHICH SLOPED UPWARD & WAS SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. THE WIND WAS REPORTEDLY FROM 270 DEG AT 4 GUSTING 18 KTS & THE ACFT WAS LOADED AT/NEAR ITS MAXIMUM TAKEOFF WT. THE PLT SAID THAT FOR TAKEOFF, THE MIXTURE WAS SET FOR 'HIGHEST RPM AND PEAK EGT,' BUT THE FLT MANUAL RECOMMENDED THE MIXTURE BE LEANED ACCORDING TO THE MAXIMUM POWER FUEL FLOW PLACARD. AFTER LIFT-OFF, THE PLT HAD DIFFICULTY ESTABLISHING A CLIMB. HE SAID THE ACFT WOULD NOT CLIMB AFTER REACHING 500' AGL & BEGAN LOSING ALTITUDE. A PASSENGER SAID THE PLT CIRCLED & TRIED TO GAIN ALTITUDE, BUT ENCOUNTERED A DOWNDRAFT. REPORTEDLY, THE STALL WARNING HORN SOUNDED ALMOST CON- TINUOUSLY. THE PLT SAID HE TURNED BACK TOWARD THE AIRPORT, BUT THE DESCENT INCREASED. SUBSEQUENTLY, HE LANDED SHORT OF RWY 27 & THE ACFT HIT DITCHES DURING THE LANDING ROLL. THE ENG WAS NOT DAMAGED & WAS RETURNED TO SVC WITHOUT REPAIR.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S INACCURATE WEATHER EVALUATION, HIS IMPROPER SETTING OF THE MIXTURE CONTROL, AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROPER CLIMB AIRSPEED. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: HIGH DENSITY ALTITUDE, UNFAVORABLE WIND WITH MOUNTAIN WAVE ACTIVITY AND DOWNDRAFTS, THE PILOT'S APPARENT LACK OF EXPERIENCE WITH THE TYPE OF OPERATION (MOUNTAIN FLYING), AND DITCHES IN THE EMERGENCY LANDING AREA.

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