NTSB Identification: SEA99FA027.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 06, 1999 in YAMHILL, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/23/2000
Aircraft: Beech 58P, registration: N700LF
Injuries: 4 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.

While the pilot was en route to his intended destination on a dark night, the weather lowered to less than visual flight rules (VFR) minimums. Approach control therefore cleared the pilot direct to the associated VOR for a VOR DME approach. Once at the VOR, the pilot said he could see the ground and was going to descend and make a visual approach. Approach control asked the pilot if he was asking for a contact approach or canceling his IFR clearance, and then explained to him that he could not be cleared for a visual approach unless he could see the airport. The pilot responded that he wanted to shoot a contact approach, and approach cleared him to do so. Soon thereafter the aircraft was seen maneuvering underneath a low ceiling, in hilly terrain, where ground fog was present. While maneuvering in the hilly terrain, the aircraft collided with a row of pine trees near the top of a hill, and continued on for about 1,000 feet before impacting a thick stand of hardwood trees.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from hilly terrain while maneuvering below a low ceiling. Factors include a dark night, a low ceiling, fog, and hilly terrain.

Full narrative available

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