NTSB Identification: SEA00FA132.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 08, 2000 in GOLD BAR, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/18/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 180F, registration: N37GC
Injuries: 3 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 non-instrument rated pilot and two passengers departed Arlington, Washington, in a Cessna 180F on a flight across the Cascade Mountains to Spokane, Washington. No flight plan had been filed and weather at the departure airport was 2,000-foot broken with lowering ceilings to the east. Raw radar data showed the aircraft tracking east-southeast with the last target recorded at 1410:01, at an estimated elevation of 5,200 feet and approximately 10 nautical miles east-southeast of the crash site. The aircraft impacted trees and +35 degree upsloping terrain in a wings level attitude, and the wreckage distribution was towards the north-northwest (299 degrees magnetic) at an elevation of approximately 3,850 feet MSL. Both propeller blade tips were separated from their respective propeller blades, and both blades displayed aftward bending and twisting deformation. Both wings separated at the fuselage wing root area. A logger located approximately one nautical mile north-northeast of the crash site at the time of the accident reported hearing an aircraft coming from the northwest circling back to the southwest followed by a 'backfire' or 'rifle-shot' like noise and then silence. The logger also reported poor visibility (overcast) with extremely cloudy/foggy conditions, and with heavy clouds/fog at elevations of 2,400 to 3,500 feet. He also reported that the tops of the ridges were fogged in from his observation point.'

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

The non-instrument rated pilot's attempted VFR flight in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing factors were mountainous terrain and cloud, low ceiling and obscuration conditions.

Full narrative available

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