NTSB Identification: LAX99FA316.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 18, 1999 in JUNE LAKE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-180, registration: N5673P
Injuries: 2 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 departed on a multi state cross-country flight and was reported missing when the airplane failed to arrive at the destination. The pilot originally had filed an IFR flight plan the night before his proposed departure and also obtained a weather briefing. The weather information contained in the briefing was substantially correct. He was delayed due to fog from his estimated time of departure and never refiled or opened the flight plan. CAP search aircraft located the wreckage 1 week after the accident. The aircraft was found at the 11,760-foot level of a mountain and about 1,000 feet below the peak. The site is about 2 miles south of the route of flight filed in his flight plan. Ground witnesses said there were gusty winds, heavy rain, and thunderstorms in the area the day of the crash, with clouds obscuring the mountaintop where the accident occurred. In his flight plan, the pilot had originally filed for 13,000 feet, and pilot reports during the morning and early afternoon indicated that the cloud bases were 10,000 to 12,000 feet over the mountains, with higher layers to 24,000 feet. Conditions were favorable for light to moderate clear and/or mixed icing in clouds and precipitation above 12,000 feet. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures were found during examination of the airframe and engine. A review of the pilot's logbook indicated that he had 223 hours of actual instrument time and 71 hours of simulated instrument time. About 4 months preceding the accident, he had logged 3 hours.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into known instrument meteorological conditions, including icing, which resulted in an in-flight collision with mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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