NTSB Identification: LAX99FA214.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 18, 1999 in BASS LAKE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N2706R
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 airplane collided with 100-foot-tall trees as it headed up a canyon. The pilot flew about 1,000 feet over Bass Lake (elevation 3,500 feet) and then headed towards the local mountains. A campground host at the Chilkoot Campgrounds (elevation 4,700 feet) was sitting next to his trailer several miles north of Bass Lake. This trailer was oriented 350 degrees and the airplane flew by parallel to his trailer. The trees in this area were over 100 feet tall, and the airplane was approximately 100 feet over the trees and 100 feet west of the trailer. The host heard the airplane for 3 or 4 seconds before it arrived at his position, and the engine was running smoothly. Then he heard the sound increase as it passed by and thought power was being added. He lost sight of the airplane due to the trees and several seconds later heard two separate sounds of what he described as metal crunching. The density altitude was approximately 6,500 feet. From Chilcoot Campground, the terrain to the east rose about 1,000 feet within 1/2 mile; to the west about 500 feet within 1 nm; and to the north about 800 feet within 1 nm. The pilot accumulated a total time of 345 hours with 1.5 hours in this make and model, including a 1-hour checkout by an instructor pilot 2 months prior to the accident.

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

Inadequate in-flight planning and decision making resulted in a failure to maintain clearance from terrain. A factor in the accident was the pilot's low total time and lack of experience in this make and model of airplane.

Full narrative available

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