NTSB Identification: LAX88FA197.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39093.
Accident occurred Sunday, May 29, 1988 in PINECREST, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/09/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N1259T
Injuries: 2 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 ACCIDENT SITE WAS LOCATED AT THE NORTH EAST END OF A LARGE VALLEY IN THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS WHERE THE VALLEY BRANCHES INTO TWO SMALLER VALLEYS. THE NORTHERN BRANCH LEADS TO A PASS AND THE SOUTHERN ONE INTO A BOX CANYON AREA. THE SITE IS ON A PLATEAU AT THE 7,300 FT MSL LEVEL. WITNESSES REPORTED THAT HEAVY SNOW SHOWERS WITH 'NEAR BLIZZARD LIKE CONDIITONS' EXISTED AT THE TIME OF THE CRASH. A HELICOPTER CREW SAID THE BASES OF THE OVERCAST CLOUDS WERE 6,300 FT MSL. THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT DID NOT OBTAIN A WEATHER BRIEFING PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR THE CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT TO ATTEND A FAMILY EVENT IN NEVADA. THE WITNESSES HEARD THE AIRCRAFT CIRCLING IN THE SNOW SHOWERS PRIOR TO THE SOUND OF IMPACT. THE AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH TWO LARGE PINE TREES NEAR THE EDGE OF THE PLATEAU.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: PILOTS DECISION TO CONTINUE VFR FLIGHT THROUGH A MOUNTAIN AREA AFTER ENCOUNTERING INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS.
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