NTSB Identification: LAX88FA272.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40417.
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 1988 in CEDAR GROVE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/1990
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N52504
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 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.

THE ACCIDENT SITE WAS IN KINGS CANYON, A LARGE RUGGED CANYON WHICH RIVALS THE GRAND CANYON IN SIZE AND DEPTH. THE EASTERN END OF THE CANYON NARROWS AND TERMINATES AT A 'Y' JUNCTION OF TWO CANYON BRANCHES. THE NORTHERN ONE LEADS TO KEARSARGE PASS, A CROSSING POINT IN THE SIERRA NEVADA MTNS. THE SOUTHERN BRANCH IS CENTER BASIN, A BOX CANYON RINGED BY MTN PEAKS WHICH RISE IN EXCESS OF 14,000 FT MSL (4,000 FT AGL). WITNESSES SAW THE ACFT ENTER CENTER BASIN AT 500 FT ABOVE THE TOPS OF THE TREES IN LEVEL OR SLIGHTLY CLIMBING FLT. OTHER WITNESSES NEAR THE SITE SAID THE ACFT WAS ABOUT 100 FT ABOVE THE TREES. THE ACFT CONTACTED A PINE TREE NEAR THE TOP WITH THE LEFT WING. THE DENSITY ALT WAS 12,500 FT. THE ACFT WAS OVER GROSS WEIGHT AND HAD A CLIMB CAPABILITY OF 278 FT PER NM. THE TERRAIN RISES AT 490 FT PER NM. THE PLT HAD LIMITED EXPERIENCE AND NO RECENT MTN FLYING EXPERIENCE.

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

PILOTS DECISION TO ATTEMPT A FLIGHT THROUGH A MOUNTAINOUS AREA AT AN ALTITUDE INSUFFICIENT TO ENSURE TERRAIN CLEARANCE.

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