NTSB Identification: LAX06FA186.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 27, 2006 in Burney, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Cessna T182T, registration: N451JE
Injuries: 3 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 a mountain while in cruise flight. The airplane became the subject of an alert notification (ALNOT) after Oakland Center (ZOA) lost radar and radio contact with the airplane and pilot. The controller working the flight reported that the pilot had cancelled the IFR portion of his flight at 1239, south of Red Bluff, California. The pilot requested visual flight rules (VFR) flight following for the remainder of the flight to his destination. At 1308, the controller reported a loss of radar and radio contact. There were no reports of a distress call from the pilot. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) air unit located the accident site on May 29, 2006, at 0936. It was at the 8,229-foot mean sea level (msl) elevation of an 8,500-foot mountain. The airplane came to rest on a 45-degree slope on top of 6 feet of an ice/snow pack, with some of the wreckage suspended in the nearby trees. The sheriff's department reported that on Saturday when the accident occurred, it was snowing and cloudy on the mountain. Recorded radar data showed the flight level at a mode C reported 10,000 msl for most of the early flight in the southern half of California. The flight then climbed to 12,000 feet for a short time. At the time the pilot cancelled his IFR clearance with Oakland Center, the radar data showed the flight descending normally to about 8,500 feet and on a straight track to the accident site just before the collision with the mountain. Review of the GEOS Weather Satellite image for the area showed that there was cloud coverage over the accident site at the time of the event. Examination of the wreckage did not discover any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engine.

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

the pilot's decision to continue VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his failure to maintain clearance from mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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