NTSB Identification: LAX00FA283.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 30, 2000 in JACKPOT, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Mooney M20E, registration: N5853Q
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 airplane collided with terrain after departure on a dark night. A witness watched the airplane depart runway 15 and appear to climb above lights on top of a mountain. The airplane turned left toward the east, and several seconds later it began to lose altitude. The airplane disappeared from sight; then the witness heard the engine rpm increase followed by a "crash sound." The first identified point of ground contact was 0.52 miles from the airport on a magnetic bearing of 105 degrees, and there was zero percent illumination of the moon. An examination of the airframe and engine revealed no catastrophic failures and no anomalies, which would have precluded normal operation of the airplane or engine.

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

The pilot inadvertently became lost/disoriented during initial climb and collided with terrain. A related factor was the dark night.

Full narrative available

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