LAX96LA320
LAX96LA320

On January 9, 1996, at 1345 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-236, N627WB, impacted terrain during an off-airport precautionary landing, 1/2 mile northeast of the Paradise Skypark, Paradise, California. The aircraft was substantially damaged; however, the private pilot was not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight had departed Paradise at 1320 in visual meteorological conditions destined for Concord, California. The NTSB was informed of the accident on August 30, 1996.

The pilot told an inspector from the FAA's Sacramento Flight Standards District Office that he departed Paradise in VFR conditions with the intention of looking at the weather and planned to return to Paradise if conditions did not permit the flight to continue to Concord. He did not receive a preflight weather briefing. The pilot reported that, from his perspective on a 1,300-foot plateau, he could see that there was patchy ground fog in the valley below and an overcast stratus layer above at 3,500 feet agl. After he became airborne, the fog layer became more solid and he decided to return to Paradise. He could not relocate Paradise due to fog which had moved in. Fearing that he would become trapped on top of the fog layer, the non-instrument rated pilot decided to descend through a clearing in the fog layer and attempt an off-airport landing in a field. During the landing, collision with rocks in the field collapsed the nose and right main landing gear.

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