NTSB Identification: LAX93FA068.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 52063.
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 16, 1992 in LAIE, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N1169U
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.

DURING A DARK NIGHTTIME FLIGHT THE PILOT ATTEMPTED TO FLY THE USAF AERO CLUB'S AIRPLANE AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE ISLAND. AFTER COMPLETING ABOUT ONE HALF OF THE TRIP, THE AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH THE 50 DEGREE UP SLOPE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN, ABOUT 3.5 NM WEST OF COURSE. THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED DURING THE PILOT'S FIRST EXPEREINCE FLYING AT NIGHT AS THE PILOT IN COMMAND. THE PILOT HAD 3.0 TOTAL HOURS OF NIGHT FLYING EXPERIENCE, AND HAD OBTAINED HIS PILOT'S CERTIFICATE 5 DAYS EARLIER. DURING THE PILOT'S PREFLIGHT PREPARATIONS, HE DID NOT REQUEST A COMPLETE WEATHER BRIEFING WHICH WOULD HAVE INDICATED THE LIKELIHOOD OF ENCOUNTERING RAIN SHOWERS WHILE FLYING OVER WINDWARD OAHU. THE USAF HAD A PROCEDURE WHICH, IF FOLLOWED, WOULD HAVE BARRED THE PILOT FROM PERFORMING THE FLIGHT. THE USAF CLEARING AUTHORITY PERSONNEL FAILED TO ADHERE TO ESTABLISHED WRITTEN DISPATCH PROCEDURES.

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

THE PILOT'S INADVERTENT FLIGHT INTO A MOUNTAINOUS AREA WHERE HE LOST VISUAL REFERENCE TO ILLUMINATED GROUND FEATURES WHICH RESULTED IN HIS BECOMING DISORIENTED. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: 1) THE DARK SKY AND LOW CLOUD CONDITIONS; 2) THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN A COMPLETE WEATHER BRIEFING PRIOR TO TAKE OFF; 3) HIS IMPROPER WEATHER EVALUATION; 4) HIS INEXPERIENCE FLYING AT NIGHT; AND 5) THE USAF'S CLEARING AUTHORITY PERSONNEL'S FAILURE TO ADHERE TO ESTABLISHED WRITTEN PROCEDURES WHICH BARRED INEXPERIENCED PILOTS FROM BEING DISPATCHED WITH THE INTENT OF PERFORMING NIGHTTIME CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHTS.

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