NTSB Identification: BFO94FA144.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 16, 1994 in FRONT ROYAL, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/13/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N3701W
Injuries: 5 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.

THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT RECEIVED A WEATHER BRIEFING THAT INDICATED INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC) ALONG HIS ROUTE OF FLIGHT. THE AIRCRAFT COLLIDED WITH TERRAIN APPROXIMATELY 11.5 MILES SOUTH OF FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA, AT AN ELEVATION OF ABOUT 2400 FEET. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE AIRCRAFT WAS EVIDENT. THERE WERE NO WITNESSES TO THE CRASH; HOWEVER, AN AUDITORY WITNESS HEARD THE AIRCRAFT FLYING LOW OVER THE MOUNTAINS. THE WITNESS STATED THAT THE ENGINE WAS OPERATING, AND THAT SHE WAS UNABLE TO SEE THE AIRPLANE AS THE CLOUDS HAD OBSCURED THE MOUNTAINS.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE CLEARANCE, HIS IMPROPER IN-FLIGHT DECISION AND HIS INADVERTENT FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC) WHICH RESULTED IN IN-FLIGHT COLLISION WITH TERRAIN. THE HIGH TERRAIN AND WEATHER CONDITIONS WERE CONSIDERED TO BE FACTORS.

Full narrative available

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