NTSB Identification: WPR11FA304
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 2011 in Santa Paula, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 180D, registration: N6451X
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.

A pilot-rated witness reported observing the accident airplane conduct a series of touch-and-go landings at the airport before it left the airport traffic pattern. The witness stated that the airplane ascended to an altitude of about 100 feet above ground level and traveled in a westerly heading toward a nearby river. The witness further reported that the engine sounded normal and the airplane never appeared to climb higher. A second witness located near the accident site reported hearing the sound of an airplane for a few seconds before the sound suddenly stopped, and the witness then observed a fire within the nearby river bed. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane struck an unmarked telephone line about 85 feet above the ground while traveling in a westerly direction. The recorded sunset was about 9 minutes prior to the time of the accident, and the end of civil twilight was about 21 minutes later. It is likely that due to the dusk lighting conditions at the time of the accident, the pilot could not see the telephone line. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a telephone line while flying at a low altitude in dusk lighting conditions.

Full narrative available

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