NTSB Identification: LAX04LA225.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 31, 2004 in Susanville, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Stinson 108-2, registration: N9816K
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 descended into terrain shortly after takeoff while the pilot was attempting to return back to the airport. The airplane climbed to about 100 to 200 feet above ground level, and began a right turn back to the runway. The pilot made a radio transmission stating that he was returning to the airport, because he had mistakenly left the oil filler cap off of the engine, which was resulting in the windshield becoming obstructed with a layer of oil. The airplane descended into terrain about 300 yards south of the departure end of the runway at a wings level, 20-degree nose down attitude. First responders to the accident noted that the airplane's windshield was coated in a layer of oil. The pilot thought that the accident could have been prevented if he had remembered to replace the oil cap on the engine while performing his preflight inspection. He reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

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

the pilot's failure to perform a proper preflight inspection of the airplane and ensure that the oil cap was secured, which resulted in a descent into terrain due to his obstructed view out of the windshield.

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