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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
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.

The airline transport pilot and passenger were flying in an area of wooded, rolling hills and valleys. When the airplane did not arrive at its destination as scheduled, a search was initiated. The wreckage was located the next day in a valley about 5 miles from the departure airport, where it came to rest beneath overhead distribution power lines. The unmarked lines were located about 300 ft above ground level, in an east-west orientation, and were anchored between two H-frame pole assemblies that stood on either side of the valley. There were no witnesses to the accident, but residences near the accident site reported a power outage near the time of the accident.
Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The propeller, right wing leading edge, and right wing strut exhibited impact marks consistent with a wire strike.
Given the position of the sun about the time of the accident, it is likely that sun glare contributed to the pilot’s inability to see the power lines as he flew the airplane along the valley at low altitude.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from power lines while flying at a low altitude. Contributing to the accident was the obscuration of the pilot’s visibility due to sun glare.