NTSB Identification: LAX02FA179.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 27, 2002 in Pleasanton, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 182P, registration: N52404
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.

At 2219 the pilot contacted approach control stating that he was at 4,500 feet mean sea level over Mt. Diablo. The controller instructed the pilot to cross the east bay shoreline at or above 2,000 feet mean sea level and remain clear of Class B airspace. At 2228 the controller radioed that he had lost contact with the aircraft. There was no reply from the pilot. The aircraft wreckage was located the next morning at the 1,680-foot level of the mountain range. Impact signatures and wreckage distribution indicated the aircraft impacted trees flying almost parallel to a ridgeline with a wings and nose level attitude. The Area Forecast indicated that by 2200 there would be overcast clouds from 1,000 to 1,500 feet above ground level, with light rain showers and visibility between 3 and 5 statute miles. At 2153, approximately 37 minutes prior to the accident, and at 2253, approximately 23 minutes after the accident, a weather reporting facility located 14.9 nautical miles west of the accident site reported overcast clouds at 700 feet. At 2154, a weather reporting facility located 10 nautical miles west-southwest of the accident site reported overcast clouds at 900 feet; at 2254, it reported overcast clouds at 700 feet. Based on the weather conditions, the mountain ridge where the accident occurred was likely to have been obscured by clouds. A friend of the pilot, who witnessed his departure, reported the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing before takeoff. No aircraft or engine anomalies were noted that would have prevented normal operations.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse weather and his failure to maintain clearance. Contributing factors included the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, the low ceilings, and the dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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