NTSB Identification: MIA97FA043.
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Accident occurred Sunday, December 22, 1996 in MIDDLEBURG, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Forney F-1, registration: N7530C
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 noninstrument-rated pilot departed in dark night conditions on a local VFR flight at about 0530 EST, when instrument meteorological conditions prevailed due to fog. The flight did not return and Air Force satellites began receiving an emergency locator transmitter signal from the crash site sometime after 0600. The wreckage was located 1 mile southwest of the departure airport. The aircraft had crashed in a wooded area. The wreckage was scattered over 100 feet on a 320 degree heading. During examination of the crash site, all components of the aircraft were located on or around the main wreckage and there was no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the aircraft structure, flight controls, or engine. The engine tachometer showed the aircraft had flown about 38 minutes since departure. No record of the pilot having received a weather briefing was located after the accident.

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

VFR flight by the noninstrument-rated pilot into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), which resulted in spatial disorientation and an uncontrolled descent into a wooded area. Factors relating to the accident were: failure of the pilot to obtain a preflight weather briefing, darkness, the adverse weather condition (fog and/or low ceiling), and the pilot's lack of instrument experience.

Full narrative available

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