NTSB Identification: LAX90FA244.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45443.
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 03, 1990 in AVALON, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/12/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N2810E
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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.

IT WAS THE PILOT'S DAUGHTER'S 12TH BIRTHDAY. THE DAUGHTER WAS ATTENDING A SUMMER CAMP ON CATALINA ISLAND. THE PILOT PLANNED TO OVERFLY THE CAMP AND SURPRISE HIS DAUGHTER BY TOSSING HER A BIRTHDAY PRESENT FROM THE AIRPLANE. THE PILOT'S SON AND A WORK ASSOCIATE WERE INVITED ALONG FOR THE AIRPLANE RIDE. WITNESSES AT THE CAMP OBSERVED THE AIRPLANE FLY OVERHEAD BETWEEN 100 AND 200 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL, AND THE PRESENT WAS TOSSED OUT OF THE AIRPLANE. A BOX-LIKE CANYON WITH RAPIDLY RISING TERRAIN WAS LOCATED ADJACENT TO THE CAMP. THE PILOT FLEW INTO THE CANYON AND THEN MANEUVERED THE AIRPLANE TO EXIT. WHILE MANEUVERING THE AIRPLANE ENTERED A STEEP LEFT BANK AND COLLIDED WITH THE SIDE OF THE CANYON.

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

THE PILOT'S IMPROPER IN-FLIGHT PLANNING, DECISION, AND HIS INTENTIONAL LOW FLYING NEAR MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS RELATED TO THE PILOT'S NOT MAINTAINING/FOLLOWING PROPER VFR PROCEDURES, THE RELATED DISTRACTION OF THE OPEN CABIN DOOR, AND THE PILOT'S DIVERTED ATTENTION TO GROUND ACTIVITIES.

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