NTSB Identification: CHI96FA090.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 14, 1996 in BROOKSTON, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/19/1996
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N4612F
Injuries: 1 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.

Prior to takeoff, the pilot called his girlfriend and asked her to pick him up at Gary Municipal Airport, Gary, Indiana, in one hour. One hour and 45 minutes later, the girlfriend contacted the Gary Air Traffic Control Tower, who advised her that they had had no contact with the pilot. The wreckage was discovered the following morning. The pilot received a flight service station briefing prior to takeoff. The briefing included low ceilings and snow showers along the pilot's route of flight. A witness reported seeing 'fast-moving snow showers' in West Lafayette, Indiana, between 1900 and 1930 est. Examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies with the airplane. The pilot received his instrument rating one week prior to the accident. The pilot's logbook showed 2.8 hours of actual instrument time. The pilot's instrument flight instructor said the first time the pilot encountered actual instrument conditions, he became disoriented.

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

the pilot's disregard for the forecast adverse weather conditions, his inadvertent flight into adverse weather conditions, and his disorientation. Factors relating to this accident were the pilot's lack of experience in instrument conditions, the snow and fog.

Full narrative available

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