The Maule MX 7-235 pilot reported that he departed from a remote private air strip near San Ynez, Calif., and proceeded along a geological drainage ravine for three miles, then turned up a side canyon into rising terrain. As the plane approached a saddle in the terrain, he spotted two black bears.
He entered a descent and executed a right turn to orbit the bears. After a 360° turn he realized that the plane had descended too low and was approaching rising terrain.
The slow airspeed and angle of bank did not allow for recovery and the plane subsequently collided with the terrain and nosed over. The wings and fuselage were substantially damaged.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance while maneuvering at low altitude in hilly terrain.
NTSB Identification: WPR14CA048
This November 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.