The private pilot of the Cessna 170, 59, had logged 476.2 total flight hours, including 432.1 hours in the Cessna 170, including 3.75 hours in the previous 90 days.
A friend of the pilot said he saw the Cessna 170 enter the traffic pattern at the airport in Auburn, Calif., but didn’t watch the full approach and landing because he was busy putting his airplane back into his hangar.
When the C-170 didn’t land at the airport, the friend notified local authorities. The airplane wreckage and the bodies of the pilot and passenger were located the following morning in a heavily wooded area almost directly in line with the runway.
The airplane came down through the trees and the impact tore off both wings.
GPS data recovered showed the airplane entered the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern and proceeded to turn left onto the base leg and final approach to the runway.
The last three GPS data points showed the airplane at a groundspeed of about 64 knots, which was well above the stall speed. The GPS data showed that the airplane was well above the 3° glidepath to both the runway threshold and the precision approach path indicator location.
Wreckage and impact signatures were consistent with a stall and subsequent spin and a near-vertical impact with terrain.
The NTSB determined the probable cause was the pilot’s failure to maintain airplane control during approach to landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and subsequent spin.
NTSB Identification: WPR13FA236
This May 2013 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.