NTSB Identification: LAX00FA168.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 21, 2000 in AGUA DULCE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2001
Aircraft: Beech D35, registration: N2086D
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.

On a dark night, en route from California to Arizona, the pilot cruised into rising terrain in a mountain pass. The crash site, elevation 3,560 feet mean sea level (msl), was adjacent to and about 0.5 miles north of a state highway, elevation 3,000. An overcast sky condition existed with cloud bases between 3,200 and 3,400 feet msl. No one reported witnessing the accident. A hillside resident located about 1/3-mile downslope from the crash site reported that, about the time of the accident, his 3,200-foot msl home was shrouded in ground fog. The pilot was instrument rated but was not current. His last logged instrument flight was 7 years earlier. The FAA reported that the pilot did not file a flight plan, obtain a weather briefing, or communicate with any FAA facility during the flight. The on-scene wreckage examination revealed the airplane initially impacted upsloping terrain in a near level flight attitude. The airplane came to rest upside down about 750 feet from the initial point of ground impact. No evidence of mechanical malfunction was found with the airplane.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain terrain clearance while cruising up a mountain pass, on a dark night, in IMC conditions, and his improper in-flight decision to perform a VFR flight in the inclement weather.

Full narrative available

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