NTSB Identification: SEA03FA013.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 26, 2002 in Malaga, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N65564
Injuries: 2 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 70 hour non-instrument rated private pilot departed Wenatchee, Washington, with his passenger for a short scenic flight in the Cessna 172P. Weather at Wenatchee, located 8 nautical miles north-northeast of the accident site, both before and after the accident was reported as calm winds and 2,000 foot overcast (3,250 foot overcast above mean sea level). The aircraft departed approximately 1115 and, according to both the tachometer and Hobbs meter, flew approximately 20 minutes. The aircraft impacted trees on an approximate 140 degree magnetic heading while in nearly level flight. The aircraft continued 170 feet southeast bound and then impacted the 20 degree up-sloping terrain coming to rest near a logging road approximately 3,500 feet above mean sea level. Witnesses at the scene immediately after the accident reported the weather at the site as characterized by foggy conditions and poor visibility. No evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunction was found with the aircraft/powerplant. Toxicological evaluation of samples from the pilot revealed the following drugs: Diphenhydramine present in urine, 0.107 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in blood, Doxylamine present in urine, 0.042 (ug/ml, ug/g) Doxylamine detected in blood. Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the trade name Benadryl) is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects, often used to treat allergy symptoms. Doxylamine is another sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, often used in sleep aids such as Unisom. It is also commonly found in nighttime multi-symptom cold relievers.

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

The pilot's attempted VFR flight into IMC resulting in the aircraft colliding with trees and up sloping terrain. Contributing factors were clouds, trees, and uphill terrain. The pilot’s performance and judgment were likely impaired by the effects of diphenhydramine and possibly by the effects of doxylamine.

Full narrative available

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