Accident Cessna 172N N2838E, Wednesday 28 March 2001
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Date:Wednesday 28 March 2001
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 172N
Owner/operator:Justice Aviation
Registration: N2838E
MSN: 17271340
Year of manufacture:1978
Total airframe hrs:8751 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-320-H2AD
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Santa Monica, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Destination airport:Santa Monica, CA (SMO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The airplane impacted the water descending at a high rate of speed. On a dark moonless night, the noninstrument rated private pilot rented an airplane and flew below a marine layer of clouds along the coastal shoreline. The pilot initiated a course reversal turn, during which the airplane turned away from the city lights. During the turn, seconds after the airplane was headed nearly perpendicular to the shoreline, the pilot commenced a descending right turn with a vertical descent rate of over 2,100 feet per minute. A witness about 1 mile away reported that the airplane looked as though it was falling straight down into the water. The pilot had taken his primary flight lessons from a Texas-based school, and he was, by his own admission, not familiar with flying around marine cloud layers. No evidence of mechanical malfunction or failures was noted during the wreckage examination.

Probable Cause: the pilot's loss of airplane control while maneuvering due to spatial disorientation. Contributing factors were the dark night, the marine cloud layer that restricted the pilot's cruising altitude, and the pilot's lack of familiarity with nighttime flight over the ocean.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: LAX01FA129
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 10:48 ASN Update Bot Updated [Source, Narrative]

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