NTSB Identification: IAD99LA029.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 07, 1999 in MEDINA, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/17/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-32RT-300, registration: N31975
Injuries: 3 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot flew into the airport to pick up a second passenger and refuel. After refueling and recalculating the weight and balance, the pilot called AFSS for an updated weather briefing. The pilot filed an IFR flight plan and received an IFR clearance and void time. During this time, a snow squall began. Witnesses saw the two passengers sweeping snow off of the airplane's wings prior to departure, but not the horizontal stabilator. While taxiing to the runway for departure, the pilot acknowledged the UNICOM that the winds were out of the east at 8-10 knots. A witness noted the visibility was approximately 1/4 mile in heavy snow when the airplane departed runway 27. The airplane struck trees approximately a 1/2 mile from the runway. A passenger stated that there were no engine problems prior to hitting the trees. The pilot did not report any mechanical deficiencies with the airframe or engine. On-site examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical deficiencies with the airframe or engine.

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

Was the pilot's failure to remove snow from the horizontal stabilator prior to take-off and his improper decision to depart downwind. Factors in the accident were the heavy snow squall and tailwind.

Full narrative available

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