NTSB Identification: LAX89FA018.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39205.
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 19, 1988 in UNION CITY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/1990
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N52222
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.

AFTER RECEIVING A PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING THAT REPORTED THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE AS 55 DEGREES, DEW POINT AS 54 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AND A CALM WIND CONDITION, THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT AND HIS PASSENGER TOOKOFF FOR A LOCAL NIGHT FLIGHT NEAR THE BAY. THE SUN RISE AND MOON SET TABLES DEPICT THE SUN AT A -7.1 DEGREE ALTITUDE AND THE MOON AT A -74.5 DEGREE ALTITUDE BELOW THE HORIZON AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. GROUND WITNESSES OBSERVED THE AIRCRAFT PASS OVER A WELL LIT STRUCTURE THEN EXECUTE A DIVING RIGHT TURN INTO THE GROUND. FOG WAS REPORTED IN THE VICINITY BY THE WITNESSES. IMPACT FORCES AND POST-CRASH FIRE DESTROYED THE AIRCRAFT.

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

LOSS OF CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT BY THE PILOT WHEN HE INADVERTENTLY ENTERED INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS. FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WERE, DARK NIGHT LIGHT CONDITIONS AND FOGGY WEATHER CONDITIONS, INADVERTENT FLIGHT INTO IMC UNDER VISUAL FLIGHT RULES, FAILURE TO PERFORM A WEATHER EVAULATION AFTER RECEIVING PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING, SPATIAL DISORIENTATION AND LACK OF TOTAL INSTRUMENT EXPERIENCE.

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