NTSB Identification: LAX01FA308
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 03, 2001 in Lytle Creek, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N8253W
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.

Witnesses from the skydiving business observed the pilot board the rented airplane and depart about 1915. The pilot obtained flight following for part of the flight. Recorded radar data showed that the airplane track proceeded along a northerly heading, and then turned toward the west. Approach control informed the pilot that they would be losing radar contact soon, and advised the pilot to proceed under visual flight rules. The pilot responded that he was 17 to 18 miles from his intended destination. No further transmissions were received from the pilot. The corrected mode C reported altitude remained steady at 2,500 feet mean sea level until the target initiated a climb to 2,900 feet about 1 1/2 minutes prior to a loss of radar contact. The last target occurred in the mouth of a box canyon. This target displayed a corrected mode C reported altitude of 2,900 feet at 1931:47. Data from a portable global positioning satellite system in the airplane indicated that the airplane continued up the canyon and began climbing. It turned to the south prior to impacting the terrain. The operator reported the airplane overdue 3 days later and an extensive search did not locate the airplane. The wreckage was discovered on September 21, 2008. The airplane wreckage came to rest at an estimated elevation of 5,600 feet on a steep slope near the top southern side of a box canyon. The canyon is generally oriented east/west. The orientation of the fuselage was about 180 degrees. Investigators examined the airframe and engine and discovered no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Sunset occurred around 1953 on the day of the accident. Weather reporting stations surrounding the accident site noted broken to overcast cloud conditions between 2,800 and 4,400 feet.

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

The pilot's inadequate decision to fly into an area of rising terrain.

Full narrative available

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