Preliminary Accident Reports

December 2004 Issue

September 1, 2004, Willits, Calif. / Cessna 172S

The airplane was destroyed and the Private pilot received minor injuries after descending into trees about 1/8th mile west of the Willits Municipal Airport. Visual conditions prevailed for the dark, nighttime flight that originated in Watsonville, Calif., about 90 minutes earlier. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions during the flight; the airplane’s landing light was functional, although he did not use it. According to the pilot, he was attempting to locate his home base airport. Upon arriving in the vicinity of the airport, he keyed the airplane’s radio transmitter to activate the airport’s runway lights. The pilot reported that he made two such attempts and both were unsuccessful...

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