NTSB Identification: LAX86FA328.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 31468.
Accident occurred Saturday, August 23, 1986 in GRAND CANYON, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 172L, registration: N7382Q
Injuries: 2 Fatal,2 Serious.

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 ACFT CRASHED IN A WOODED AREA SHORTLY AFTER DEPARTING RWY 21 AT GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK ARPT (GCN). THE PLT HAD MADE A PRECAUTIONARY LANDING AT GCN DURING THE X-COUNTRY FLT TO PAGE, AZ, SO HE CALL A FSS HAVING BEEN UNABLE TO ESTABLISH CONTACT IN-FLT. THE PLT CALLED PRESCOTT FSS WHO RECOMMENDED THE FLT BE DELAYED UNTIL MORNING. THE PLT STATED HE HAD A RESERVATION AND WOULD LOSE $100.00 IF HE DIDN'T GET TO PAGE 'EVEN THOUGH IT'S DANGEROUS'. THE PLT THEN ELECTED TO GO AFTER SPEAKING WITH ANOTHER PLT WHO STATED WX AT PAGE WAS FINE. THE PLT REPORTED TAKEOFF WAS NORMAL BUT ASTHE ACFT TRAVELED DOWN THE RWY IT SEEMED TO STOP CLIMBING. HE THEN LOST ALL OUTSIDE VISUAL REFERENCE AND ATTEMPTED TO KEEP THE WINGS LEVEL WHILE MAINTAINING AIRSPEED. THE PLT DOES NOT RECALL THE ACFT CONTACTING TREES. LOCAL PLTS REPORTED THAT ON MOONLESS NIGHTS A PLT HAS TO FLY INSTRUMENTS TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE ACFT DURING DEPARTURES ON RWY 21 BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF VISUAL REFERENCES. IT WAS DESCRIBED AS 'FLYING INTO A BLACK HOLE'.

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

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

OBJECT..TREE(S)


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..DARK NIGHT


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY


Contributing Factors

SELF-INDUCED PRESSURE..PILOT IN COMMAND

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