NTSB Identification: SEA07FA246.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 12, 2007 in Alsea, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N6735J
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 private pilot/owner of the airplane departed from his home base airport and landed at another airport to pick up another pilot/certified flight instructor (CFI). From this point, the flight departed to a local area airport where per data collected from the GPS indicated that the flight accomplished several race track orbits in what appeared to be a holding pattern. The flight then proceeded southbound to another airport where a landing was made. The pilots ate dinner and fueled the airplane before departing further south where the flight again executed three obits in a holding pattern over an airstrip before continuing on to another airport where another set of race track type holding patterns were executed approximately 3.5 miles southwest of the eventual accident site. The flight then flew west-northwesterly toward the area of the accident site where the tracking stopped. Family members to both pilots reported that the CFI had been giving the private pilot flight instruction for an instrument rating. The family members to the CFI, who were also witnesses, reported that it was common practice that when the CFI returned home from working in another state, he would fly over his family residences which notified them that he was home. He would then fly to a nearby airport where he kept his vehicle. The accident site was located across the road from the family residences. The CFI's family members reported hearing a low flying airplane in the area and assumed that it was his flight. The airplane was not observed, but they did report hearing the sound of a collision. Another witness, not a family member, reported that he observed a low wing airplane flying about treetop height down the canyon before it made a turn back up the canyon. The accident site was located on hilly terrain in a clear cut area covered with tree stumps and piles of slash. Evidence gathered at the site indicated that the aircraft collided with the terrain in a left wing low attitude. Post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not disclose any evidence to support a mechanical failure or malfunction. It was not determined which pilot was manipulating the flight controls at the time of the accident.

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

Terrain clearance was not maintained while maneuvering. A low altitude during the maneuver and hilly terrain were factors.

Full narrative available

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