NTSB Identification: LAX89FA106.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40789.
Accident occurred Sunday, February 12, 1989 in JULIAN, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N9240P
Injuries: 3 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 NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT FIRST FILED AN IFR FLIGHT PLAN BEFORE OBTAINING A WEATHER BRIEFING. LIGHT TO MODERATE RIME ICING WAS FORECAST FROM 5,000 TO 16,000 FT. AT 1541 THE ARTCC CONTROLLER NOTICED THE MODE C ALTITUDE REPORT WAS 1,300 FT LOWER THAN THE ASSIGNED ALTITUDE OF 10,000 FT, AND DESCENDING. THE PILOT RESPONDED TO THE CONTROLLER'S INQUIRY THAT 'I CANNOT MAINTAIN ALTITUDE'. AT 1543 RADIO AND RADAR CONTACT WAS LOST. AN AIRLINE FLIGHT REPORTED PICKING UP MODERATE RIME ICE WHILE FLYING IN THE AREA OF THE ACCIDENT SITE. A GROUND WITNESS REPORTED THAT AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT A THUNDERSTORM WAS OVERHEAD, ACCOMPANIED BY LIGHTNING, THUNDER, HAIL, AND MODERATE SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS. THE WITNESS ALSO HEARD A LOUD 'WINDING UP ENGINE SOUND FOLLOWED BY A LARGE BANG'. THE LAST PITOT STATIC SYSTEM TEST AND CALIBRATION WAS RECORDED ON 7/8/86. THE PILOT HAD RECEIVED ABOUT 44 HRS DUAL INSTRUMENT TRAINING DURING THE FIRST 6 MONTHS OF 1986.

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

THE PILOT'S POOR JUDGEMENT OF INTENTIONALLY FLYING INTO AN AREA OF KNOWN FORECAST ICING CONDITIONS WHICH RESULTED IN A LOSS OF CONTROL AND AN INFLIGHT BREAKUP OF THE AIRCRAFT. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS WERE THE PILOT'S OVERCONFIDENCE IN HIS PERSONAL ABILITY BY ATTEMPTING FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, AND THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS.

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