On February 23, 2003, at 1800 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 310, N5202A, collided with powerlines near Palmdale, California, while diverting to William J. Fox Airfield, Lancaster, California. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 for the personal cross-country flight. The instrument rated private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Day visual meteorological conditions existed during the flight and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated at Henderson Airport (HND), Henderson, Nevada, about 1700, and was scheduled to terminate at Whiteman Airport (WHP), Los Angeles, California.

The pilot stated that the weather conditions deteriorated along his route of flight. He contacted the Flight Service Station (FSS) via radio and was advised the ceiling in Soledad Canyon (the accident location) was about 3,500 feet. The elevation at Soledad Pass on the Los Angeles VFR Terminal Area Chart is 3,225 feet mean sea level (msl). As the pilot entered the canyon, dusk lighting conditions existed and he felt ceiling conditions were lower than those forecast. He decided to divert to an alternate airport (William J. Fox Airfield). The pilot turned toward the airport and the airplane impacted the powerlines. The airplane then landed at the alternate airport uneventfully.

Post accident examination of the airplane revealed damage to both propellers, the nose gear door, and the left tip tank.

The automated surface observing system (ASOS) issued for Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California, reported the following conditions at 1751: wind 170 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; ceiling broken 3,600 feet, overcast 10,000 feet; temperature 13 Celsius; dew point 9 Celsius; and altimeter 29.77 inHg.

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