NTSB Identification: LAX00FA122.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 06, 2000 in CIMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-12, registration: N7586H
Injuries: 1 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 pilots of the flight of two aircraft agreed by radio to break the formation and fly different routes around a mountain ridge and then rejoin on the other side. The wingman never rejoined the leader. The wreckage of the wingman's airplane was located in a wide, open, desert valley, and impacted the level desert floor on a heading opposite the course to the intended destination. The wreckage distribution showed a steep flight path angle at impact. No evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction was found. The flight leader was confidant there was no adverse weather along that portion of the route and, although the accident occurred near twilight, there was sufficient daylight for visual flight. The flight leader also reported that the 36-year-old pilot appeared healthy and well-rested before takeoff.

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

In-flight collision with terrain for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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