NTSB Identification: SEA02LA042.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 20, 2002 in Concrete, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: C-FISS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was following the Skagit River eastbound approximately 1500-1800 feet above sea level when he observed rain showers ahead and he decided to execute a course reversal. He initiated a left turn at 75 miles per hour utilizing two "notches" (20 degrees) of flaps and noted a sink rate. He then applied full power and raised the flaps to one "notch" (10 degrees) during which the sink rate continued. The pilot reported that it "felt like the aircraft was getting sucked down." As the aircraft continued in its left turn towards the rising, tree covered hillside, the pilot executed a controlled crash into the trees and terrain. A topographic chart of the vicinity of the accident showed that the terrain gradient was considerably shallower to the south, and that the left turn initiated by the pilot placed the aircraft flying towards higher gradient terrain. The pilot reported that he had been using carburetor heat throughout the flight and that the aircraft's engine had been performing as expected.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance/altitude while reversing course and turning towards rising, tree covered terrain in downdraft conditions. Contributing factors were trees, rising terrain, downdrafts and the pilot's in-flight decision to turn towards rather than away from steeper terrain during his course reversal.

Full narrative available

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