NTSB Identification: LAX06FA233.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 16, 2006 in Arcata, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2008
Aircraft: Bellanca 14-19, registration: N522A
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 flight following from air traffic control (ATC). While en route to the destination airport, the weather deteriorated to instrument flight rules conditions. He requested the instrument landing system (ILS) approach. ATC cleared him for a procedure turn to the ILS approach course, and to cross the initial approach fix (IAF) at or above 5,200 feet. The runway threshold was 316 degrees at 14.7 miles from the IAF. Recorded radar data indicated that the airplane began descending prior to reaching the IAF; the airplane was 800 feet low while still 1 mile from it. The airplane continued descending until colliding with trees. It was on the approximate localizer approach path, but the debris path was on a heading about 90 degrees off the approach course. The airplane's last reported Mode C altitude was 1,600 feet mean seal level (msl). The wreckage was about 11 nautical miles from the runway at an elevation of about 1,735 feet. The glide slope altitude was 1,753 feet at the outer marker (OM), which was 4.6 nm from the runway threshold.

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

The pilot's failure to follow the prescribed instrument approach procedure and to maintain the proper glide slope and altitude/clearance from obstacles while on an instrument landing system approach, resulting in a collision with trees. Contributing to the accident was the dark night lighting conditions.

Full narrative available

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