NTSB Identification: LAX06FA133.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 30, 2006 in La Canada, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Rockwell 112 TCA, registration: N4641W
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 pilot was receiving VFR flight following services from Air Traffic Control and was climbing to his cruise altitude of 9,500 feet when he requested information regarding the tops of the clouds. The pilot stated that he was VFR, and had gone through some clouds. The controller informed the pilot that he was in an area of intermittent radar coverage, and asked him if he was able to maintain VFR. The pilot replied that he could, and that he was at 6,800 feet. A few seconds later, the controller lost radar and radio contact. No distress call was received and an over-flying airplane tried unsuccessfully to establish radio contact. Radar data indicated that a target in the vicinity of the accident site appeared to make two left 360-degree turns. A witness saw the airplane come spiraling out of the bottom of the clouds with the nose pointed straight towards the ground. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures were identified in the wreckage. Two weeks prior to the accident, the pilot had extensive surgery to remove a recurrent tumor in his maxillary sinus. At the time of the accident, the pilot was returning home from a post-surgical meeting at which the surgeon informed the pilot that some tumor remained in his eye socket. The pilot's options would be radiation to the eye, additional surgery to remove the floor of the eye socket and possibly the eye as well, or watch the tumor grow prior to taking any action. The pilot had likely recovered from most of the immediate effects of that surgery. The pilot had ibuprofen in his blood, suggesting that he had some continuing pain or discomfort, which might have reduced his attention to flight related tasks. He might also have been distracted or depressed by the prospect of additional surgery and/or the possible loss of one eye. His decision to fly or respond to events during flight could have been sub optimal due to post surgical issues.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control and an adequate airspeed during climb to cruise that led to a stall/spin. Contributing to the accident were the clouds and the pilot's physiological state.

Full narrative available

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