NTSB Identification: LAX89FA022.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40166.
Accident occurred Friday, October 21, 1988 in PETALUMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/1990
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N9372E
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 PLT TOLD HIS BROTHER THAT HE WAS GOING TO PRACTICE NIGHT TAKEOFFS & LANDINGS. SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF, THE ACFT CRASHED IN A STEEP NOSE DOWN, RIGHT WING LOW ATTITUDE. IMPACT OCCURRED ABOUT 1/2 MI NORTHWEST OF THE ARPT. NO PRE- IMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE ACFT WAS FOUND. WITNESSES RPRTD THE WX WAS FOGGY WITH A LOW CEILING. ONE WITNESS ESTIMATED A 200 TO 300 FT CEILING WITH 1/4 MI VISIBILITY. ANOTHER WITNESS RPRTD THE VISIBILITY WAS LESS THAN 1/2 MI. APRX 20 MI NORTHWEST AT SANTA ROSA, THE 1945 PDT WX WAS IN PART: 2500 FT SCATTERED, VISIBILITY 10 MI. THE THE NON-INSTRUMENT PLT HAD ONLY ABOUT 2 HRS OF SIMULATED INSTRUMENT FLT TIME.

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

PILOT USED POOR JUDGEMENT WHEN HE ATTEMPTED V.F.R. FLIGHT DURING INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS AND THAT HE ENCOUNTERED SPATIAL DISORIENTATION WHEN HE ENTERED INTO THE CLOUDS.

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