NTSB Identification: LAX00LA135.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 25, 2000 in CORONA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N7354A
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and passengers had taken off from Goodyear airport in Phoenix, Arizona for a flight to Santa Ana, California. The pilot said he obtained a weather briefing from the airport at Goodyear, but did not check with anybody concerning the fog he encountered near Corona, California. He stated that the Riverside and Corona area was 'socked in' with heavy fog and clouds, but that the outlying areas in the Moreno Valley were clear. He stated that the fog was coming in fast with low ceilings, so he decided to land in the clearing. While they were at the clearing, the pilot's father went to a nearby landfill and purchased approximately 18 gallons of automotive fuel for the airplane. After the fog began to clear, the pilot said they got ready to takeoff, and he got about 2-3 feet in the air when the engine suddenly died as if he had pulled back on the throttle. He said he also heard a popping noise but could not determine if it was the engine or a rock hitting the airplane. Later the pilot told FAA investigators that he did not have a problem with the engine. After the accident, at the request of the local fire department officials, the pilot drained approximately 18 gallons of fuel from the airplane. During a postaccident examination, the engine was started normally three times, with good throttle response and normal oil pressure.

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

The pilot's inadequate weather evaluation, and his improper remedial actions that led to a precautionary landing and subsequent attempted takeoff from unsuitable terrain.

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