NTSB Identification: LAX02FA212.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 30, 2002 in OJAI, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2006
Aircraft: Beech S35, registration: N576Q
Injuries: 3 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 airplane collided with mountainous terrain while maneuvering through a box canyon; it was the second airplane of a group of airplanes. The group consisted of eight airplanes that were traveling together; there were three groups of airplanes with three airplanes in two groups, and two airplanes in one group. The first group, containing three airplanes with this airplane second behind the lead, descended to an estimated 500 to 1,000 feet above ground level (agl), and proceeded up a canyon. The lead proceeded to descend into the canyon and the other airplanes followed about 500 feet behind. The pilot of the number three airplane in the group estimated that he was about 200 feet above the leader's altitude and number two airplane was between them. He noticed that number two was getting closer to the leader, and he was closing in on number two. As the airplanes proceeded toward the end of the canyon, the pilot of the number three airplane became concerned about terrain clearance and decided to exit the formation. A few seconds later, the number three pilot initiated a hard pull up to the left and began to climb. He completed about 15 degrees of turn and saw the lead airplane collide with trees and terrain at his 2 o'clock position. The number two airplane was a little to the right of the lead when it collided with the terrain. Both airplanes came to rest within 75 feet of each other at the head of the canyon at an estimated elevation of 4,925 feet, about 400 feet below the crest of the saddle at the end of the canyon. The lead airplane was N156U, a Beech V35A; see NTSB report LAX02FA211.

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

the pilot's inadequate in-flight planning and failure to maintain an adequate terrain clearance altitude within the canyon.

Full narrative available

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