NTSB Identification: LAX89FA211.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42411.
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 24, 1989 in DINSMORE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/07/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N4527F
Injuries: 4 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 PILOT HAD CONTACTED FSS EARLIER IN THE DAY AT 0640 AND REQUESTED ONLY CURRENT WX AT EUREKA FOR A ROUND-TRIP FLT FROM LAKEPORT TO EUREKA & RETURN. THE FLT DEPARTED EUREKA AT ABOUT 1415 FOR THE RETURN FLT. WITNESSES OBSERVED THE AIRPLANE FLYING VERY LOW IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN; ONE WITNESS STATED '... HE CAME UP OUT OF THE FOG AT CLOSE TO TREETOP LEVEL ...' THE WX WAS DESCRIBED AS LOW CLOUDS, FOG, AND LIGHT RAIN. WRECKAGE WAS LOCATED IN RISING 4,900-FT MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. PILOT TYPICALLY FLEW NEAR HWY 101 EXCEPT DURING INCLEMENT WX WHEN HE WOULD DIVERT TO THE EAST & FLY VIA HWY 36. HE HAD A MOTOR VEHICLE PARKED AT RUTH AIRPORT FOR USE IN INSTANCES OF VERY POOR WX. PILOT HAD ANOTHER FLT SCHEDULED FOR 1500 AT LAKEPORT, AND WAS ALSO SCHEDULED TO TEACH SCHOOL AT 1800.

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

THE PILOT'S INTENTIONAL VFR FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE TERRAIN CLEARANCE. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO OBTAIN WEATHER INFORMATION, HIS OVERCONFIDENCE IN HIS ABILITY TO FLY IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN IN THE EXISTING WEATHER CONDITIONS, THE URGENCY TO RETURN FOR OTHER PLANNED ACTIVITIES, THE EXISTING WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN CONDITION.

Index for May1989 | Index of months