NTSB Identification: LAX92FA283.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 47661.
Accident occurred Thursday, November 14, 1991 in BIG BEAR CITY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/03/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 336A, registration: N3848U
Injuries: 5 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 OBTAINED A BRIEFING FROM THE FAA FLIGHT SERVICE STATION PRIOR TO HIS PLANNED FLIGHT. THE BRIEFER, IN PART, TOLD THE PILOT THAT MOUNTAIN OBSCURATIONS WERE FORECAST FOR CALIFORNIA. THE PILOT AND HIS 4 PASSENGERS DEPARTED ON THEIR PLANNED CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT. THE AIRPLANE AND ITS OCCUPANTS DID NOT RETURN ON TIME AND FAMILY MEMBERS REPORTED THEM MISSING TO THE AUTHORITIES. A SEARCH WAS INITIATED, BUT WAS CALLED OFF THE NIGHT OF THE ACCIDENT DUE TO ADVERSE WEATHER. AFTER THREE WEEKS, THE OFFICIAL SEARCH WAS TERMINATED. THE PILOT'S FATHER CONTINUED THE SEARCH AND LOCATED THE DOWNED AIRPLANE WRECKAGE AT ABOUT THE 7,000 FOOT LEVEL OF A MOUNTAIN ABOUT 8 MONTHS AFTER IT WAS REPORTED MISSING. WITNESSES LOCATED NEAR THE ACCIDENT SITE THE NIGHT OF THE ACCIDENT, REPORTED THE MOUNTAINS WERE OBSCURED FROM ABOUT THE 4,000 FOOT LEVEL UP TO THEIR RESPECTIVE TOPS. THEY ALSO REPORTED 'HEAVY' SNOW IN THE AREA THE NIGHT OF THE ACCIDENT. THE PILOT HAD LESS THAN ONE HOUR TOTAL INSTRUMENT FLIGHT TIME AND ABOUT 9 HOURS OF SIMULATED INSTRUMENT TIME.

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

1) THE PILOT INADEQUATELY EVALUATING THE WEATHER, AND 2) THE PILOT MAKING THE INFLIGHT DECISION TO CONTINUE FLIGHT INTO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. FACTORS IN THIS ACCIDENT WERE 1) THE INABILITY OF THE PILOT TO SEE THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN DUE TO THE AMBIENT LIGHT CONDITIONS AND OBSCURATIONS, AND 2) THE PILOT'S LACK OF INSTRUMENT FLYING EXPERIENCE.

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