NTSB Identification: WPR10FA399
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 13, 2010 in Emigrant Gap, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/22/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA28R, registration: N3463Q
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 purpose of the flight was to provide mountain flying training to the private pilot. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying eastward just above the tree tops over their campsite. They stated that the engine sounded normal and that, after the airplane disappeared from their view, they heard two “bangs.” The accident site was located in heavily forested, rising mountainous terrain. Damage to the left wing and a matching tree impression indicated that the airplane was in a climbing left turn when it struck the tree. It could not be determined who was manipulating the controls at the time of the accident. It is likely that the flight instructor and the pilot receiving instruction were attempting to maneuver out of the area by initiating a climb and turn and failed to maintain clearance from trees. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology results for the flight instructor were positive for marijuana; however, the levels present were not sufficient to cause impairment.

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

The pilots’ failure to maintain sufficient altitude to clear terrain while maneuvering. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action.

Full narrative available

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