NTSB Identification: LAX00FA171.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 24, 2000 in AUSTIN, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/01/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N67435
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.

According to data retrieved from a handheld GPS unit, the pilot's headed up a valley while cruising at a low altitude over upsloping mountainous terrain along their flight route. The airplane was unable to out climb the rising terrain and impacted the 20-degree upsloping mountainside nearly perpendicular to its face at an elevation of 8,100-foot mean sea level while maneuvering the airplane during an attempted reverse course maneuver. In January 2000, both pilots began primary flight training at the same Texas-based flight school. In March, they were issued Private Pilot certificates, and had each received about 6 hours of dual cross-country flight training. Neither pilot had been trained in high-density altitude operations or mountain flying. The airplane had the published performance capability to overfly the mountainous terrain. However, under high density altitude standard atmospheric conditions, its maximum rate of climb was reduced to about 380 feet per minute at 62 knots indicated airspeed (70 knots true airspeed), or about 326 feet per nautical mile (nm). As evidence by the airplane's ground track, the terrain over which the airplane flew within 3 nm of the accident site increased in elevation from 7,100 to 8,100 feet msl, or about 333 feet per nm. The airplane's climb rate ability was less than the terrain's slope. No evidence of any airframe or engine mechanical malfunction was noted during the on-scene wreckage examination.

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

The pilot's decision to attempt flight in an area of high rising mountainous terrain at an inadequate altitude, which resulted in an impact during a turn to reverse direction. A contributing factor was the pilot's lack of total experience in mountain flying operations.

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