NTSB Identification: LAX02FA234.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 23, 2002 in Kneeland, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N8801N
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.

The pilot landed at an airport (elev. 2,737 feet msl), which was located 17.5 nm southeast of his destination airport, prior to proceeding to final destination. While at the forestry facility, the pilot contacted a fellow company pilot, who was located at the destination airport, for a report on the weather conditions. According to various weather reports, at the destination airport (elev. 218 feet msl) the cloud bases were at 1,100 feet agl and cloud tops at 3,000 feet agl. Shortly after departure from the airport, the pilot was cleared by air traffic control (ATC) for an ILS approach to the destination airport's runway 32. For unknown reasons, the pilot cancelled the approach and requested to hold at a fix until he could be cleared for another approach. Approximately 16 minutes later, the pilot was cleared for another ILS approach to runway 32. ATC instructed the pilot to cancel his IFR clearance after landing, the pilot acknowledged the request, and that was the last communication from the pilot to ATC. The airplane impacted several trees, came to rest inverted on a 45-degree sloped ridge, and was destroyed by a post-impact fire. Two separated sections of the left wing were located wrapped around near the tops of 125-foot trees. The wreckage energy path measured approximately 300-feet in length on a measured magnetic heading of 190 degrees. During examination of the wreckage, 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 failure to maintain clearance with the trees while executing an instrument approach. Contributing factors were the clouds and obscuration weather conditions.

Full narrative available

Index for Jul2002 | Index of months