NTSB Identification: CHI96LA259.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 26, 1996 in HAZELTON, ND
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/04/1996
Aircraft: Beech C24R, registration: N5247M
Injuries: 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While en route to Bismarck from the southeast, the noninstrument-rated pilot contacted a Flight Watch station and obtained weather information. He was informed of thunderstorm activity, 30 miles east of Bismarck. He decided to continue the flight, thinking the thunderstorm activity would be to the north. Also, he was informed that the sky condition at Bismarck was 2,500' scattered and 3,500' broken. Since he was at 4,500', he noted that he would have to descend to a lower altitude. At about that time, the airplane entered a cloud, which the pilot thought was a momentary condition. He tried to fly through it, but moments later, the airplane experienced severe turbulence. The pilot reported that he struggled to control the aircraft and was trying to descend below the clouds, while maintaining a course to Bismarck. Subsequently, the airplane impacted a wheat field in a level attitude and skidded to a stop.

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

inadvertent VFR flight by the noninstrument-rated pilot into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and his failure to maintain altitude control of the airplane, which resulted in a collision with the terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness, the adverse weather conditions, the pilot's lack of instrument experience, and spatial disorientation of the pilot.

Full narrative available

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