NTSB Identification: CHI94LA131.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 11, 1994 in EDINA, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/14/1994
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N4253L
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 IN COMMAND KNOWLINGLY DEPARTED ON A CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT WITH AN INOPERATIVE WET COMPASS, SET HIS DIRECTIONAL GYRO 90 DEGREES OFF IN FLIGHT, AND BECAME DISORIENTED IN DETERIORATING WEATHER. HE ELECTED TO LAND IN A SHORT, SOFT, WET SOD FIELD TO FIND OUT HIS LOCATION, THEN TOOK OFF AGAIN WITH WEATHER ESTIMATED AT 800 FT OVERCAST, 2 MILES IN RAIN. DURING THE INITIAL TAKEOFF CLIMB, IN CONTROLLED FLIGHT, THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED TREES AT THE DEPARTURE END OF FIELD.

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

the pilot in commands' failure to obtain obstruction clearance from trees during a visual takeoff from a short, soft, wet field in instrument meteorological conditions. A factor was the pilot in commands' misjudgment of the takeoff climb performance of the airplane, which resulted in striking trees at the departure end of the field. A second factor was the operation of the airplane with a known defective wet compass, which resulted in the pilot's disorientation and led him to land in the unsuitable field.

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