NTSB Identification: LAX01FA178.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 18, 2001 in Julian, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Beech D45, registration: N8NV
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.
The pilot attempted to fly a military flying club airplane up a valley at a low altitude. The airplane was unable to outclimb the rising terrain, and it impacted the rocky hillside at an elevation of 3,400 feet mean sea level (msl). About 8 minutes after initiating the cross-country flight, and while en route to the planned destination airport, the pilot flew over a residence less than 400 feet above the ground, as evidence by the airplane's Mode C transponder. A witness, who was at the residence and who recognized the airplane, estimated its altitude as 500 feet above ground level. Thereafter, the pilot continued flying at a low altitude above ground level. The airplane's radar track disappeared as the pilot headed toward higher elevation terrain. The lowest altitude at which targets are observed on radar 1 mile south of the accident site area is between 3,600 and 3,700 feet msl. The accident airplane's track as it approached the accident site was not detected. The terrain leading to the accident site varies from 490 to 3,400 feet msl. The pilot was familiar with the accident site terrain, having flown over the terrain in military helicopters. No evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction was found during the wreckage examination.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's selection of an insufficient altitude over rising mountainous terrain and his failure to maintain adequate terrain clearance. Full narrative available
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