NTSB Identification: LAX01FA134.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 01, 2001 in Rialto, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N739WE
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.

A flight school Cessna 172N was destroyed during a departure collision with communication wires and terrain at Rialto, California, about 0023 hours. The accident flight was returning to Hawthorne, California. The pilot had obtained a standard weather briefing at 2319, for the return flight. The pilot was advised of airmets for IFR ceiling and visibilities for his route of flight. The airplane had been the subject of an Federal Aviation Administration ALNOT, issued at 2210, for failure to cancel an instrument flight plan with Southern California Tracon from Hawthorne to Rialto, an uncontrolled airport. The pilot had obtained an FAA preflight weather briefing at 1551, for the flight to Rialto. According to the instrument flight plan information, the estimated time of arrival at Rialto had been 1845. Subsequently, the airplane was located at the Rialto airport parking ramp by county sheriff personnel. The ALNOT was canceled at 2240. The operator stated that the pilot and passenger had flown to Rialto to visit with friends and were to return to Hawthorne. The pilot was a flight instructor for the operator and was rated in airplane single engine land and instrument. They reported that he had accrued 650 total flight hours. Radar data was obtained from Southern California Tracon and a plot was generated by a private vendor for Cessna Aircraft Company. It shows the airplane circling back over the airport and heading northwest. The highest altitude before coverage is lost is 1,700 feet mean sea level.

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

The pilot's intentional visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper weather evaluation and lack of total experience.

Full narrative available

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