NTSB Identification: LAX06FA148.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 23, 2006 in Wrightwood, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Cessna T337C, registration: N2620S
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 pilot departed under visual flight rules (VFR) for a planned cross country flight over mountainous terrain. During the climb to cruise phase, the pilot requested and received VFR radar flight following service. He also requested from the controller a cloud top report. The controller replied that he did not have a report for the geographic area. Radar data showed that the pilot continued climbing in a southerly direction toward rising mountainous terrain until reaching 10,200 feet msl. Then, over the next few minutes the airplane gradually descended and made a left, 270-degree turn. The pilot informed the controller that he had gotten himself "in the soup" and was trying "to get out of it." The controller advised the pilot that the minimum vectoring altitude for the area was 11,600 feet. No response was received from the pilot. The radar data showed that during this time the airplane descended and impacted a mountaintop near the 8,000-foot msl elevation. A skier, who was located less than 3/4-mile from the accident site at 7,000 feet msl, reported hearing the sound of an engine which abruptly stopped with a "thud" sound. The skier reported he was unable to see the sky because the clouds covered the mountaintop. An examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal evidence of any mechanical malfunction. The ground scars and wreckage signatures showed the airplane was in controlled flight when the ground collision occurred.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper decision to continue VFR flight into instrument meteorological weather conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into mountainous terrain. Full narrative available
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