NTSB Identification: FTW96LA193.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 26, 1996 in COLUMBUS, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/22/1996
Aircraft: Piper PA-28RT-201T, registration: N2194Y
Injuries: 1 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 noninstrument-rated private pilot made a precautionary landing in a field after encountering unforecast low ceilings during a cross-country flight. The preflight weather briefing indicated there were no precautions or advisories applicable to the proposed route of flight. According to the pilot, after 15 minutes of cruise flight, he 'realized' that he was on top of an overcast cloud layer. He 'made a u-turn,' and 'after working [his] way back down,' found the ceiling was about 700 feet AGL. He elected to divert to the nearest airport, but was unable to locate the airport and landed in a pasture. The airplane collided with a ditch during the landing roll.

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

the pilot's improper inflight planning/decision to continue the flight instead of returning to the takeoff airport after encountering adverse weather. Factors were: the inaccurate weather forecast, the low ceiling and the lack of suitable terrain for the precautionary landing.

Full narrative available

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