NTSB Identification: LAX88FA016.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 38156.
Accident occurred Saturday, October 17, 1987 in BUENA PARK, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28RT-201, registration: N43551
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.

WHILE DEPG ON AN IFR FLT TO VFR CONDS, THE PLT FAILED TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT TRANSPONDER CODE PER ATC CLNC. THE LOCAL CONTROLLER (CTLR) REMINDED HIM TO SET THE CORRECT CODE & THE PLT SUBSEQUENTLY REPLIED 'I'M HAVING A PROBLEM RIGHT NOW . . . I'VE GOT TO GET STRAIGHTENED AWAY . . .' THE CTLR AGAIN REMINDED THE PLT ABT THE CORRECT TRANSPONDER CODE & ADZD OF TRAFFIC AHEAD. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ACFT BEGAN A SHALLOW DSCNDG LEFT TURN, THEN HIT THE TOPS OF 3 TALL PALM TREES, CRASHED IN AN APT COMPLEX & BURNED. SVRL WITNESSES RPRTD ENG PROBLEMS, BUT NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION WAS FND DRG THE INVESTIGATION. ALTHOUGH PROPERLY CERTIFICATED FOR THIS FLT, THE PLT HAD RECENTLY FAILED AN INSTRUMENT FLT TEST. THE FAA WAS IN THE PROCESS OF REVOKING HIS INSTRUMENT PRIVILEGES. THE PLT RPRTDLY WAS EXPERIENCING SERIOUS PERSONAL & FINANCIAL PRBLMS STEMMING FROM HIS WIFE'S ILLNESS & EXTENSIVE HOSPITALIZATION; HIS FLT INSTRUCTOR RPRTD THESE PRBLMS WERE ADVERSELY AFFECTING HIS FLYING SKILLS.

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

PROPER ALTITUDE..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

DIVERTED ATTENTION..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

OBJECT..TREE(S)



Contributing Factors

ANXIETY/APPREHENSION..PILOT IN COMMAND

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