NTSB Identification: NYC95FA162.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 18, 1995 in DANIELSVILLE, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/1996
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N72546
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 flight departed at night with the pilot/owner and a pilot-rated passenger aboard. They were sharing flight duties on the third of a series of flights together, after the pilot rated passenger performed pilot duties on the second flight. Low clouds and fog prevailed; however, no weather briefing was obtained, other than checking the ATIS of a nearby airport. The pilots were receiving VFR advisories, and proceeding toward an uncontrolled airport located near a ridge that was higher in elevation than the altitude of the airplane. According to the pilot, the passenger was flying the aircraft, and they were navigating by dead reckoning. The approach controller asked the pilot if she was familiar with 'the ridge just to the north of slatington.' She replied that she was, but could not see it. As the flight continued, she was given the relative bearing and distance to the airport twice. After the second advisory, engine power was increased, and a turn toward the airport was initiated. However, the airplane collided with wooded/rocky terrain at the top of a mountain, about 3-1/2 miles northeast of the airport. Nearby at Allentown, the ATIS reported 400 ft scattered, 1100 ft overcast, visibility 6 miles with fog. The terminal forecast called for 400 ft broken, 5 miles visbility with fog, occasionally visibility 2 miles with fog.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The flight crew's improper in-flight planning/decision, and failure to maintain adequate clearance (or altitude) from mountainous terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness, fog, low clouds, and the high terrain. Full narrative available
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