NTSB Identification: LAX88FA148.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 36383.
Accident occurred Sunday, April 03, 1988 in ORINDA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/10/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-325, registration: N6ET
Injuries: 5 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.

BEFORE THE ACDNT, WITNESSES OBSERVED THE ACFT CIRCLING IN A VALLEY BENEATH A LOW CLOUD LAYER & BELOW THE SURROUNDING HILLTOPS. THEY ESTIMATED THE CEILING WAS 400' OBSCURED. TWO WITNESSES SAID THE ACFT ENTERED CLOUDS BEFORE IT CRASHED. A 3RD WITNESS, WHO WAS A PLT, SAID THE ACFT WAS AT A VERY LOW ALT WHEN IT APCHD RISING/MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN; HE SAID THE ACFT THEN ENTERED A STEEP CLIMBING TURN & STALLED AFTER MAKING 2 COMPLETE TURNS. IMPACT OCCURRED IN A NOSE LOW, LEFT WING DOWN ATTITUDE. NO PREIMPACT MECHANICAL PROBLEM WAS FOUND. THE FAA HAD ISSUED THE PLT A SPECIAL 3RD CLASS MED CERT AFTER HE HAD QUINTUPLE HEART BYPASS SURGERY. HE WAS RPRTD TO HAVE GOTTEN 'QUITE ANGRY' BEFORE THE FLT, WHEN 2 PAXS WERE LATE. A PATHOLOGIST BELIEVED THE PLT'S DEATH MAY HAVE BEEN DUE TO ARTERIOSCLEROTIC HEART DISEASE; HOWEVER, THIS WAS NOT VERIFIED. THE PLT DID NOT HAVE AN INSTRUMENT RATING & NO RECORD OF A PREFLT WX BRIEFING WAS FOUND.

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

AIRSPEED..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

STALL..INADVERTENT..PILOT IN COMMAND



Contributing Factors

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LOW CEILING


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..FOG


Contributing Factors

VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC..CONTINUED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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