LAX95LA263
LAX95LA263

On July 21, 1995, at 1345 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182P, N9437M, collided with trees about 1 mile northwest of the Kneeland Airport, Kneeland, California, after takeoff from runway 33. The airplane was being operated by Sacramento Aero Services, Inc., Sacramento, California, and was rented to the certificated private pilot for a personal flight. The airplane was destroyed and the non-instrument rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight was destined for Natomas Field, Sacramento. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was opened for the flight.

At 0736 hours, the non-instrument pilot contacted the Arcata Flight Service Station and asked the air traffic control (ATC) specialist questions about local weather conditions. The pilot inquired as to the top of fog in the Kneeland area. The ATC specialist indicated to the pilot there were no local reporting stations at the Kneeland airport. The ATC specialist indicated the closest top report was from a pilot conducting an instrument approach to the Arcata airport, and that the pilot indicated the tops were at 3,000 feet above mean sea level.

Witnesses reported the airplane departed the Kneeland airport about 1345 hours, with ground visibility about 2,000 feet due to fog. One witness stated after the airplane disappeared in the fog, the engine rpm was heard to increase followed by a "thud." The witnesses then departed the airport believing the pilot had departed without incident.

When the airplane failed to arrive at the destination airport, a search was initiated, which was impeded by the fog. The wreckage was found about 1630 hours on July 22, 1995, about 1 mile northwest of the airport in lower terrain about 1,500 feet below the elevation of the airport.

The wreckage was recovered and transported to Sacramento, where it was examined by FAA inspectors from the Oakland Flight Standards District Office. There was no evidence of mechanical failure or malfunction found during the FAA's inspection.

The wreckage was released to representatives of the owner on July 26, 1995.

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