NTSB Identification: LAX05FA167.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 12, 2005 in Elko, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/14/2007
Aircraft: Beech 95-B55, registration: N8771R
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 airplane collided with mountainous terrain at the 10,500-foot level while in cruise. The pilot was receiving VFR flight advisories when radar and radio contact were lost. According to a pilot flying in the area, about 1416, nearby air traffic control tower personnel contacted him, and requested he investigate an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal in the area. The pilot noted low clouds with bases between 8,500 to 9,000 feet msl were in the area of the strongest ELT signal reception, and that there was no rain or snow showers in the area. The mountain tops were obscured, but there were good VFR conditions under the clouds. He was not able to locate the wreckage on his first attempt due to the clouds, but did on his second try later in the afternoon. The accident site was on a 45-degree, snow-covered slope. Recorded radar data for the last 2 minutes of the flight showed that the airplane's mode C altitudes varied between 10,000 feet and 10,300 feet. The terrain elevation in the area ranged from 6,750 feet to 10,500 feet msl. The last recorded radar return was at 1416:44, at a mode C reported altitude of 10,300 feet. Weather analysis indicated that the pilot was likely in visual meteorological conditions until just prior to the accident. An overcast cloud band was on the windward side of a mountain range at the accident time, and that terrain was mostly obscured above 8,500-9,000 feet msl. Cloud tops were about 13,000 feet msl. Scattered light snow showers were likely in the accident area. The examination of the airplane and both engine's revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's continued VFR cruise flight into instrument meteorological conditions in mountainous terrain, and his failure to maintain clearance from terrain. A contributing factor was mountain obscuration and clouds. Full narrative available
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