NTSB Identification: SEA08FA036.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 22, 2007 in Auburn, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N3459T
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 pilot and passenger had been on a local area personal flight that had lasted about 1.8 hours, and were returning to the departure airport. The airplane entered the traffic pattern and as it was on the base leg, the airspeed slowed, and witnesses indicated that it appeared to be at a high angle of attack. The airplane stalled, rolled into a spin, and collided with trees and terrain. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies was discovered. Serious carburetor icing conditions at glide power existed at the time of the accident; however, whether or not the pilot encountered carburetor icing could not be determined with the available evidence. The pilot had limited experience operating at the airport, and in the accident airplane make and model. The toxicological tests were positive for brompheniramine and diphenhydramine. Brompheniramine and diphenhydramine are sedating antihistamines with adverse effects on performance, and often used to treat allergy symptoms. Although the toxicological test result levels were different between the Federal Aviation Administration laboratory and the local toxicological testing, both results were consistent with recent ingestion of a medication containing brompheniramine, which most likely impaired the pilot's judgment and performance of complex cognitive and motor tasks during the flight.

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

The pilot failed to maintain an adequate airspeed while maneuvering in the traffic pattern for landing, which resulted in a stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment during the flight from the effects of over-the-counter medications.

Full narrative available

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