NTSB Identification: LAX03LA079.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 31, 2003 in Tehachapi, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N6087W
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane collided with terrain at night during the approach to landing. During a night flight under visual flight rules, the pilot discovered the weather at his destination was instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) so he decided to divert to Tehachapi to wait for the weather to improve. He flew over the airport at 7,500 feet to check the wind T, which indicated runway 11 was the preferred landing runway. His flight guide specified right-hand traffic for runway 11. The pilot entered the right traffic pattern on a 45 degree entry for runway 11. After turning on right downwind he heard the mike "keyed" several times. Because of this, he felt another airplane might be in the area. He extended his downwind leg, looking for the other airplane. He did not see or hear any other airplanes. He then proceeded to turn right base and then final. The pilot saw the runway lights and began a standard descent. While on final approach, he observed a red light just slightly left of the airplane's windscreen. He immediately flew the airplane to the right, away from the light. Moments later, the airplane impacted the ground.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance above the surrounding terrain, and his evasive maneuver to avoid a perceived object. A factor in the accident was the dark night.

Full narrative available

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