NTSB Identification: WPR11FA116
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 29, 2011 in Adrian, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/23/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 182K, registration: N3083Q
Injuries: 3 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 non-instrument-rated pilot was returning to his home airport about two hours after sunset on a dark night with low levels of ambient light. The pilot landed to refuel at an airport that was located about 40 miles northwest of his home airport. Around the time of his post-refueling departure, the weather in the valley between the refueling airport and his home airport varied from clear skies to a solid overcast cloud layer, with some areas being covered by patchy ground fog and mist. After takeoff, the pilot flew in a southerly direction along the western edge of the valley. As he continued to the south, he reached a location where the western edge of the valley is defined by a steeply rising line of hills. At that point the pilot turned about 10 degrees to the east and then proceeded along the eastern edge of the hilly area. After flying a little over five miles beyond the point where he turned to the east, the airplane impacted the steeply rising terrain on the eastern edge of the hills. The impact ground scars were consistent with the airplane being in a wings-level attitude, and an examination of the engine and propeller revealed evidence that was consistent with the engine being at cruise power or greater. The investigation did not reveal any evidence of anomalies or malfunctions associated with the airplane's airframe, engine, or systems. It is likely that the pilot failed to see the terrain and inadvertently flew into it while in cruise flight.

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

The non-instrument-rated pilot did not maintain sufficient altitude to clear mountainous terrain while in cruise flight in the dark.

Full narrative available

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