NTSB Identification: LAX91FA181.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44839.
Accident occurred Saturday, April 20, 1991 in CARPENTERIA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N8019N
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 PILOT TOOK OFF IN VMC CONDITIONS FROM AN AIRPORT THAT IS ON THE COAST. THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAINS A FEW MILES INLAND HAD BEEN OBSCURED BY CLOUDS AND LOW CEILINGS FOR SEVERAL HOURS. ABOUT 15 MINUTES AFTER TAKEOFF, THE PILOT CONTACTED AN APPROACH CONTROL FACILITY TO REQUEST VISUAL FLIGHT RULES FLIGHT FOLLOWING. ABOUT ONE MINUTE AFTER THAT FIRST CONTACT, THE PILOT STARTED GIVING INDICATIONS THAT HE WAS HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE WEATHER AND WITH FINDING HIS EXACT POSITION. WITHIN ABOUT 3 1/2 MINUTES AFTER THE INITIAL CONTACT WITH THE CONTROLLER, THE PILOT SAID THAT HE COULDN'T SEE 'ANYTHING'. THAT WAS HIS LAST KNOWN RADIO TRANSMISSION. HIS TRANSPONDER SQUAWK CODE DISAPPEARED FROM THE CONTROLLER'S RADAR SCREEN AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME AS THE LAST KNOWN TRANSMISSION. THE CONTROLLER ASKED THE PILOT SEVERAL TIMES IF HE WAS VMC OR VFR. THE PILOT RESPONDED AFFIRMATIVELY EVERY TIME. THE AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH A MOUNTAIN AT ABOUT THE 3,300 FEET LEVEL.

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

1) INADEQUATE WEATHER EVALUATION BY THE PILOT, 2) POOR INFLIGHT DECISION TO TRY AND CONTINUE VMC FLIGHT, AND 3) THE PILOT'S LACK OF TOTAL EXPERIENCE.

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