NTSB Identification: LAX01LA029.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 30, 2000 in Gorman, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N16503
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The single engine airplane collided with terrain in a right wing low, nose low attitude after the pilot lost control and stalled the airplane. The commercial pilot just received his instrument airplane flight instructor rating the day before the accident. He and his passenger departed on a cross-country visual flight rules (VFR) flight. The departure airport was reporting VFR conditions at the time of departure; however, weather observations in the vicinity of the accident site were reporting instrument flight rules weather conditions with low ceilings. Witnesses, who observed the accident, described the airplane flying low over an interstate and thought the airplane was attempting to land on the road. They described the airplane's wings as "shaking or vibrating," and "moving side to side" before it made sharp right turn and descended to ground impact. A post-accident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no pre-impact anomalies that would have affected its operation. Toxicological tests on the pilot revealed he was utilizing at least two different substances; one being a multisymptom cold reliever and the other being a nutritional supplement. Dextromethorphan and its metabolites, doxylamine, ephedrine and its metabolites, and acetaminophen were all detected in the pilot's system. Some of the aforementioned drugs impose impairing side effects, where others acted as stimulants. Adverse side effects of the medications and distraction or sensory disturbance as a result of the condition for which the medications were ingested, may have contributed to the accident.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. A contributing factor was the pilot's use of impairing medications.

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