NTSB Identification: LAX88FA028.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 38461.
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 28, 1987 in BUTTONWILLOW, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N5431P
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.

A PIPER PA-24-250 COLLIDED WITH TERRAIN WHILE ON AN IFR FLIGHT. THE PILOT RECEIVED A WX BRIEFING FROM FSS. WHILE EN ROUTE, RADIO AND RADAR CONTACT WAS LOST, THEN REGAINED. THE PILOT STATED TO ATC THAT THE ACFT HAD BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING. HE ELECTED TO CONTINUE HIS FLT TO HIS DEST. THE ACFT AGAIN WAS LOST FROM RADAR WHILE PLT WAS EXECUTING FREQUENCY CHANGE. WITNESSES REPORTED ACFT DESCENDING IN VERTICAL SPIRAL AND THEN IMPACTING GND VERTICALLY. WX RPRTS AND FORECASTS INDICATED THUNDERSTORMS, TURBULENCE, AND LIGHTNING WERE PRESENT ALONG FLIGHT. TWO PLT RPRTS INDICATED PRESENCE OF MODERATE TO SEVERE TURBULANCE IN VICINITY OF THE ACCIDENT SITE, WITHIN 1,000 FT OF ACFT CRUISE ALT. REVIEW OF PILOT'S LOGBOOK INDICATED HE WAS NOT IFR-CURRENT. EXAM OF THE WRECKAGE DID NOT DISCLOSE THE DAMAGE BY THE LIGHTNING STRIKE.

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

FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER..PERFORMED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

SPIRAL..NOT CORRECTED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..POOR..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

WEATHER EVALUATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..THUNDERSTORM,LEVEL I



Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..TURBULENCE(THUNDERSTORMS)


Contributing Factors

LACK OF RECENT INSTRUMENT TIME..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

LACK OF RECENT EXPERIENCE IN TYPE OPERATION..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LIGHTNING STRIKE


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..NIGHT


Contributing Factors

IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION..POOR..PILOT IN COMMAND

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