NTSB Identification: LAX91LA289.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45283.
Accident occurred Friday, July 05, 1991 in NAPA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/10/1993
Aircraft: HUGHES 369D, registration: N18KJ
Injuries: 1 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.

THE 70-HOUR STUDENT HELICOPTER PILOT HELD AN AIRLINE TRANSPORT PILOT CERTIFICATE (AIRPLANES). THE PILOT DEPARTED ON A BUSINESS FLIGHT BETWEEN HIS HOME AND HIS OFFICE. AT THE TIME OF TAKEOFF THE PILOT WAS AWARE THERE WAS A 500 FOOT CEILING AND THE VISIBILITY WAS ONE MILE. AFTER FLYING FOR FIVE MINUTES THE PILOT ENCOUNTERED DECREASING VISIBILITY (1/16 MILE) AND GROUND FOG. THE PILOT REVERSED COURSE AND COLLIDED WITH THE UNDERLYING TERRAIN. THE ACCIDENT PILOT'S FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR HAD AUTHORIZED THE PILOT TO ONLY FLY THE HELICOPTER IN VFR CONDITIONS.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN THE PROPER ALTITUDE. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S IMPROPER IN FLIGHT DECISION TO FLY IN THE BELOW VFR WEATHER CONDITIONS AND HIS MISJUDGED WEATHER EVALUATION.

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