NTSB Identification: SEA07LA249.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 22, 2007 in Pinecliff, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N5180J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot, who was on a VFR flight plan, was flying a nearly direct route from his point of departure to his planned destination. Near the end of his planned flight, he approached a mountain range that stood between him and his destination. Just before reaching the mountainous terrain, the pilot cancelled his VFR flight following, and began to descend. Once he entered the mountains, he encountered the forecasted clouds and low ceilings that kept him from continuing on his planned direct course. He continued to descend, and began maneuvering through the mountainous terrain in the general direction of his destination. After making three major course reversals, the pilot began following a road that would have taken him back to the last major town he had past while flying the direct part of his course. While following that road, he made another apparent course alteration, which placed the aircraft in a narrow valley with up-slopping terrain. As he continued up that valley, he reached a forested ridge that he did not clear, resulting in the aircraft colliding with a number of trees.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the trees while maneuvering in mountainous terrain. Factors include the mountainous terrain, low ceilings, and trees in the area where the pilot was maneuvering.

Full narrative available

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