NTSB Identification: CEN09FA043
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, October 29, 2008 in Mt. Dora, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/2010
Aircraft: CESSNA 175, registration: N175JG
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 private pilot with over 5,000 hours of total flight time departed his home airfield under visual-flight-rules conditions. Shortly after departure, the aircraft struck the side of a nearby mountain. There were no indications of loss of control or of any preimpact anomalies with the airframe or engine. The pilot had a long history of rheumatoid arthritis and back pain, and was on multiple medications, including two different narcotic painkillers. He had reported to the FAA a history of arthritis and the use of medication typically prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, and the FAA had not requested any further information. The pilot had experienced increased pain within a month of the accident, and post-accident toxicology testing indicated the presence of a third narcotic painkiller and a short-acting local anesthetic in his system at the time of the accident, suggesting the possibility of additional treatment for his pain within a few days of the accident. Toxicology testing was also consistent with the ingestion of at least 10 tablets of a prescription narcotic painkiller within the 2 hours prior to the accident. The circumstances of the accident, in which this experienced pilot flew directly into clearly visible elevated terrain with no discovered anomalies with the airplane, could suggest an unknown cockpit distraction, impairment, or an intentional act; however, the investigation could not conclusively determine the specific cause of the accident.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from rising terrain for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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