NTSB Identification: IAD96FA050.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 18, 1996 in MARION, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N54839
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.

The pilot told ATC that he saw the runway (runway 26) during the first localizer approach, but the airplane was too fast to make the landing, so he missed the approach. The pilot was cleared for the second localizer approach to the destination airport at 0048. At approximately 0100, the airplane struck a 100-foot tall tree, and collided with terrain about 1 mile east of the airport. The airport elevation is 2559 feet, and the published minimum descent altitude for the airport was 3020 feet msl, with 1 mile visibility. The reported visibility at the destination airport was 1/4 mile in fog. The localizer approach was test flown by the FAA the day after the accident and it operated satisfactory.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance during the instrument approach (FAF/Outer Marker to Threshold IFR), which resulted in the in-flight collision with trees. A related factor was the foggy weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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