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On February 9, 1995, at 1415 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172G, N4345L, collided with some wires and crashed into Lake Berryessa near Pope Valley, California, and sank. The pilot was conducting a local visual flight rules personal flight. The airplane, registered to and operated by the pilot, was destroyed. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Petaluma Airport, Petaluma, California, on February 9, 1995, at an undetermined time.
Two Napa County Sheriff deputies observed the accident. They said the airplane was flying in a nose-level southerly direction at a low altitude and collided with the wires. One deputy noted the airplane registration number before it collided with the wires.
Another witness who was boating near the accident site.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also held a third-class medical certificate dated April 7, 1994; the certificate contained a "must have available glasses for near vision" limitation endorsement.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators did not recover the pilot's flight hours logbook. The flight times reflected on page 3 of this report were obtained from the pilot's last medical certificate application form. The pilot showed on the form that he had accrued 399 flight hours.
The pilot's insurance representative sent the Safety Board copies of the aircraft and engine logbooks. Examination of the logbooks revealed the last annual inspection was accomplished on June 1, 1994; the airplane accrued 3,300.5 flight hours and the engine accrued 1,724.11 hours since a major overhaul at the time of the inspection. At the time of the accident, the airplane and engine accrued an additional 88.1 hours.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Napa County Sheriff deputies arranged for the recovery of the wreckage from the bottom of the lake. The divers told the deputies that the airplane was found nose down in the mud/silt about 45 feet below the surface. The divers said that both wings remained attached at their respective wing-to-fuselage attach fittings, but were bent toward the rear.
Safety Board investigators examined the wreckage on February 14, 1995, at Faeth Aircraft Salvage, Sacramento, California. The parties listed in this report participated in this examination, with the exception of the Sacramento Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office inspector.
The airplane exhibited several areas of electrical arcing on the airframe and propeller. Cable scrapes and arcing signatures were observed on the left windshield post.
The vertical fin/rudder, horizontal stabilizer/elevators, and both wings were disassembled by the aircraft retrievers for transportation. Continuity of the flight controls could not be established.
Investigators established continuity of the engine gear and valve train assembly. Thumb compression was noted during the continuity check.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Napa County Sheriff-Coroner's Office conducted the post mortem and toxicological examinations on the pilot. The pathologist did not show that the pilot had any condition or disease that would have detracted from his ability to fly an airplane.
The toxicological examinations were negative for alcohol or drugs.
The Safety Board released the wreckage to the pilot's insurance representative on March 7, 1995. The Safety Board did not retain any aircraft components or documents. The wreckage was at Faeth Aircraft Salvage when it was released.