NTSB Identification: LAX89FA304.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39806.
Accident occurred Saturday, September 16, 1989 in LA GRANGE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/1991
Aircraft: ROCKWELL 112B, registration: N1232J
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.

BEFORE DEPG ON THE ACDNT FLT, THE PLT OBTAINED A WX BRIEFING & WAS ADVISED OF RAIN SHOWERS ALONG HIS ENTIRE ROUTE. ALSO, HE WAS WARNED OF THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY THROUGHOUT ALL OF CALIFORNIA. HE FILED A VFR FLT PLAN & TOOK OFF. SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF, HE ACTIVATED THE FLT PLAN, THEN THERE WAS NO FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH THE ACFT. ABOUT 1 HR LATER, THE ACFT WAS OBSERVED FLYING AT LOW ALTITUDE. AS THE ACFT APCHD A SIGN, IT WAS OBSERVED TO ENTER A CLIMB & DISAPPEAR IN A LOW CLOUD LAYER. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, IT WAS OBSERVED BY ANOTHER WITNESS IN A DIVE AS IT DESCENDED BELOW THE CLOUDS. MOMENTS LATER, THE ACFT CRASHED IN A LAKE. AN EXAM OF THE WRECKAGE REVEALED THE ACFT HAD IMPACTED THE WATER WITH VERY HIGH VELOCITY. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE/MALFUNCTION OF THE ACFT WAS FOUND. THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT HAD ONLY ABOUT 3 HRS OF INSTRUMENT FLT TIME. WITNESSES RPRTD THUNDERSTORMS & LIGHTNING IN THE AREA; THEY ESTIMATED THERE WAS ABOUT A 500 FT OBSCURATION WITH 1/2 MI VISIBILITY, BLOWING RAIN & WIND FROM 135 DEG AT 15 GUSTING 20 KTS.

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

CONTINUED VFR FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEORLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC) BY THE PILOT, WHICH RESULTED IN SPATIAL DISORIENTATION AND LOSS OF AIRCRAFT CONTROL. RELATED FACTORS WERE: FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER BY THE PILOT, THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE PILOT'S LACK OF INSTRUMENT FLIGHT CAPABILITIES.

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