NTSB Identification: LAX91LA321.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44880.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 21, 1991 in GERLACH, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/27/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-135, registration: N9977Q
Injuries: 2 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.

IN BOTH HIS WRITTEN AND VERBAL STATEMENTS THE PILOT SAID THAT HE ENCOUNTERED A 'DOWNDRAFT' WHILE FLYING NEAR GERLACH, NEVADA. THE PILOT STATED THAT THE DOWNDRAFT WAS ENCOUNTERED JUST AS THE AIRCRAFT OVERFLEW A SMALL RIDGE AT LOW ALTITUDE AND HE COULD NOT ARREST THE RATE OF DESCENT PRIOR TO COLLIDING WITH THE GROUND IN THE VALLEY BEYOND. IN HIS WRITTEN REPORT OF THE ACCIDENT, THE PILOT SAID THAT THERE WAS NO MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION OF THE AIRCRAFT. THE CLOSEST WEATHER REPORTING STATION WAS REPORTING WINDS OF LESS THAN FIVE KNOTS. THE PILOT DID NOT INDICATE THAT HIGH WINDS OR OTHER UNUSUAL METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS WERE INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT CIRCUMSTANCES.

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

THE FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE TERRAIN CLEARANCE BY THE SELECTION OF AN INAPPROPRIATE CRUISE ALTITUDE RESULTING IN AN IN FLIGHT COLLISION WITH TERRAIN.

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