NTSB Identification: LAX03FA025.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 08, 2002 in ANAHEIM HILLS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 150E, registration: N6236T
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 airplane was traversing a pass through the coastal hills during a dark night flight under an overcast when it collided with power lines crossing a freeway. The transmission lines were approximately 150 feet above ground level (agl), at an estimated ground elevation of 450 feet above mean sea level (msl). A witness in a car on the freeway that was generally perpendicular to the power lines observed an aircraft pass over him on the left side of the freeway. He then saw several flashes of light. He noted that it was a very dark night and hazy. He saw a ceiling that was definitely above the aircraft, but could not tell if the ceiling was above the surrounding mountaintops. The aircraft was definitely below the level of the mountaintops. There was no record of the pilot receiving a weather brief from a flight service station or Direct User Access System (DUATS). The pilot did not file a flight plan. Based on weather reports from the witness, the nearest reporting stations, and the destination airport, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site with cloud bases around 200 to 300 feet agl and visibilities less than 2 miles in light rain and mist. The toxicology report noted the finding of multiple over-the-counter substances, including diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative and impairing effects. The levels reported for the substances were consistent with recent use. The FAA does not regulate the use of any specific prescription or over-the-counter medications by pilots, though the FAR's do state that (Sec. 91.17): "No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from power lines. A contributing factor was the pilot's impairment by medication. Full narrative available
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