NTSB Identification: LAX91FA022.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45524.
Accident occurred Sunday, October 28, 1990 in OCEANSIDE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/06/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-108, registration: N5052Z
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 PILOT HAD LANDED AT OCEANSIDE EARLIER IN THE DAY. THE PILOT HAD REMARKED THAT THE AIRPLANE'S COMM RADIO WAS INOPERATIVE AND THAT HE WAS USING A PORTABLE TRANSCEIVER TO COMMUNICATE WITH ATC. AFTER LEAVING THE AIRPORT FOR DINNER, THE PILOT ALSO REMARKED THAT HE HAD LEFT THE TRANSCEIVER 'ON' AND THAT HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE RADIO'S BATTERY CHARGE. AT 2130 THE PILOT AND HIS FAMILY WAS DRIVEN BACK TO THE AIRPORT FOR DEPARTURE. THE PILOT CONTACTED FSS BY TELEPHONE FOR A WEATHER BRIEFING AND TO FILE A FLIGHT PLAN. THE PILOT DID NOT CONTACT ATC AFTER TAKEOFF. THE WRECKAGE WAS LOCATED IN A CANYON 1/2 MILE NORTH OF THE AIRPORT. ON-SCENE EVIDENCE DISCLOSED THAT THE AIRPLANE INITIALLY STRUCK A RIDGE WHILE IN A RIGHT WING LOW, NOSE-DOWN ATTITUDE ON A HEADING OF 080 DEGREES. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH A COURSE REVERSAL IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKEOFF.

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

THE PILOT INITIATING AN INSTRUMENT FLIGHT WITHOUT OPERATING AIR/GROUND COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE TERRAIN CLEARANCE AFTER APPARENTLY DECIDING TO RETURN TO THE AIRPORT. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WERE INOPERATIVE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT RESULTING IN THE PILOT'S INABILITY TO ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION WITH ATC, ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE DARK NIGHT.

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