NTSB Identification: LAX89FA229.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42374.
Accident occurred Friday, June 30, 1989 in CORDES, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/05/1991
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N5199Q
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.

THE STUDENT PILOT, WHO HAD 79 TOTAL HOURS OF FLIGHT TIME, DEPARTED ON HIS THIRD SUPERVISED SOLO CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT. WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS DESTINATION, HE BEGAN CIRCLING OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. THE AIRCRAFT'S ALTITUDE PROGRESSIVELY LOWERED. A WITNESS REPORTED THAT AFTER THE THIRD CIRCLE, THE AIRCRAFT CRASHED & CARTWHEELED TO A STOP. THE STUDENT HAD PARTICIPATED IN CIVIL AIR PATROL FLIGHTS & WAS ACQUAINTED WITH A PROTOCOL FOR 'CONTOUR' SEARCHING OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. AN ACQUAINTANCE OF THE PILOT SUSPECTED THAT HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR INDIAN RUINS, WHILE CIRCLING. THE ACQUAINTANCE ALSO STATED THAT A PILOT COULD BECOME FIXATED ON AN OBJECT DURING A CONTOUR SEARCH.

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

THE PILOT MISJUDGED HIS ALTITUDE, WHILE MANEUVERING AT LOW ALTITUDE OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: HIGH DENSITY ALTITUDE, MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, AND DIVERSION OF THE PILOT'S ATTENTION.

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