NTSB Identification: DEN00FA149.
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Accident occurred Saturday, August 12, 2000 in KAMAS, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/06/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N734UD
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 surviving passenger, a hunter, hired the pilot to fly him around a wilderness area because he wanted to 'learn the country and spot animals' before the hunting season started. The pilot told the passenger he had never flown over the wilderness area before. The passenger said the airplane performed normally throughout the flight. He said they were 'not low' as they turned up a valley and started climbing towards rising terrain, but a nearby camper reported seeing an airplane fly up the valley at a low altitude shortly before the estimated time of the accident. As the airplane approached the summit, it struck trees, nosed into the ground, and rolled inverted. According to the airplane operator, the pilot had taken the airplane without their permission.

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

The pilot's improper inflight decision to enter a valley at low altitude and attempt a climb towards rising terrain. A factor was exceeding the airplane's climb performance.

Full narrative available

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