NTSB Identification: LAX06FA206.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 18, 2006 in Payson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/28/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 180, registration: N1535C
Injuries: 4 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 on a cross-country flight to a remote dirt airstrip that he had been to several times before. A friend of the pilot was at the airstrip and saw the accident airplane approach from the south, and then fly over the airstrip about 150 feet above ground level. The friend looked away, but reported that he was aware of the engine sounds, which were not unusual and did not draw his attention. The friend heard a "thud" and the engine sounds stropped. He looked up and saw the airplane cartwheel on the west side of a pinnacle, north of the airstrip. The debris field was about 50 feet below the crest of the hill, and continued along a magnetic bearing of 045 degrees. Calculations indicated that the sun was 11 degrees above the horizon, and the magnetic bearing to the sun was 56 degrees. The pilot was turning into the sun, and the shadow side of the pinnacle just prior to impact. Glare from the sun likely affected his vision, and his ability to discern the terrain's proximity. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal 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 failure to maintain clearance from the terrain during a low level flyby maneuver. A factor was glare from the sun and shadows created by the mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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