NTSB Identification: LAX91FA093.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44814.
Accident occurred Friday, February 08, 1991 in PETALUMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA TR182, registration: N2415S
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 158 HOUR TOTAL TIME PRIVATE PILOT PLANNED AN 18 NM NIGHT TIME FLIGHT TO VISIT A FRIEND. THE PILOT HAD LIMITED EXPERIENCE FLYING ON INSTRUMENTS, HAVING ONLY 2.6 HOURS OF INSTRUMENT FLYING TIME. ON THE NIGHT OF THE ACCIDENT IT WAS DARK. THE UNCONTROLLED AIRPORT WAS SHROUDED IN GROUND FOG AND LOW LEVEL CLOUDS EXISTED NEARBY. THE SKY WAS OBSCURED. THE NON INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT MADE A LOW PASS OVER THE RUNWAY AND PROBABLY ATTEMPTED TO LAND. THE PILOT ABORTED HIS ATTEMPT, OVERFLEW THE RUNWAY'S END AND INITIATED A GO-AROUND CLIMB. THE AIRPLANE GAINED 150 TO 200 FEET ALTITUDE AND ENTERED THE BASE OF CLOUDS, ACCORDING TO AN EYEWITNESS. THE WITNESS STATED THAT HE THEN LOST VISUAL CONTACT WITH THE AIRPLANE. A FEW SECONDS LATER THE AIRPLANE REAPPEARED, AND IT WAS DESCENDING AT ABOUT AN 80 DEGREE ANGLE. THE AIRPLANE CRASHED ABOUT 1600 FEET FROM THE END OF THE RUNWAY.

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

THE PILOT'S INADVERTENT FLIGHT INTO IMC AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE. FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT RELATED TO THE PILOT BECOMING DISORIENTED IN THE DARK, NIGHTTIME, INSTRUMENT WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND TO THE PILOT'S LIMITED EXPERIENCE FLYING IN SUCH CONDITIONS.

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