NTSB Identification: LAX88FA297.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39083.
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 23, 1988 in INYOKERN, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/09/1990
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N5769Y
Injuries: 1 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.

WEATHER REPORTS FROM A NEARBY AIRPORT AND WITNESS OBSERVATIONS INDICATE THAT A LEVEL 4 THUNDERSTORMS WAS NEAR THE ACCIDENT SITE AS THE ACFT APPROACHED. THE PLT DID NOT OBTAIN A PREFLT WX BRIEFING FOR THIS NIGHT VFR CROSS COUNTRY. THE WX INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME HE DEPARTED CLEARLY NOTED THE THUNDERSTORM WITH HEAVY RAIN AND LIGHTENING PRESENT ON HIS ROUTE. RADAR DATA SHOWED THE ACFT TRACKING ALONG A HIGHWAY WITH THE MODE C REPORTING ERRATIC ALTITUDE JUMPS. THE RADAR DATA SHOWED THE ACFT TURN RIGHT TIGHTLY AND DESCEND AT A RAPID RATE. EVIDENCE AT THE SITE SHOWED THE ACFT CONTACTED THE GROUND IN A 60 DEGREE RIGHT BANK TURN WITH THE NOSE DOWN AT ABOUT 40 DEGREES AND AT A HIGH RATE OF SPEED. THE PLT WAS NOT CURRENT FOR NIGHT FLT.

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

PILOTS INFLIGHT LOSS OF CONTROL AFTER ENCOUNTERING A LEVEL FOUR THUNDERSTORM ON A NIGHT VFR CROSS COUNTRY. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN A PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING.

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