NTSB Identification: SEA08FA108
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 08, 2008 in Big Bear City, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2009
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, registration: N868PC
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 airplane collided with trees and terrain during a dark night time flight after encountering instrument meteorological weather conditions. The airplane's wreckage was located in mountainous terrain at 8,344 feet mean sea level (msl), 9 miles west of the destination airport. Recorded flight parameter data from the airplane's electronic primary flight display revealed a steady recorded altitude of 8,400 feet for about the last 3 minutes of the flight. Two airmen's meteorological information reports (AIRMETs), both issued about 90 minutes prior to the accident, advised of mountains occasionally obscured by clouds and precipitation, and the presence of turbulence and low-level windshear. Weather observations for the destination airport at 2050 and 2110, which was just prior to the airplane's departure, reported cloud ceilings at 8,400 feet and 7,600 feet msl, respectively. Scattered clouds were reported on the 2130 observation at 7,600 feet and 8,100 feet msl. Based on an analysis of satellite weather data and destination airport weather observations conducted by a Safety Board meteorologist, it is likely that the pilot encountered clouds and turbulence at his flight altitude shortly after 2121 and descended in order to maintain visual flight rules flight. According to the US Naval Observatory, the moon was below the horizon at the time of the accident. Post accident examination of the airframe, flight controls, engine assembly, and accessories revealed no preimpact anomalies.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance from mountainous terrain. Contributing to the accident were the mountainous terrain, the dark night condition, the turbulent wind condition, and the low clouds.

Full narrative available

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