NTSB Identification: CHI97LA279.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 31, 1997 in CASTLEWOOD, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-22, registration: N2743P
Injuries: 3 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.

According to the pilot-in-command, the purpose of the flight was to fly over one of his passenger's farm. The pilot stated that the flight was, 'At a low level.' The pilot reported that as the airplane approached the accident location something fell off the dashboard and he leaned forward and down to identify what it was. The pilot stated that, 'As I leaned down, I apparently forced the yoke forward, lowering the attitude.' The pilot reported that when he looked up, 'it was too late, the trees were right in front of me. I gave back pressure on the elevator, but again too late and struck the trees.' The pilot stated that the aircraft still was able to climb and that there were tree branches hanging on the wing. The pilot reported that he noticed that the elevator had limited deflection and decided to make a precautionary landing in a nearby field. Post accident investigation showed substantial damage to the right wing spar, elevator, and vertical stabilizer.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from the trees.

Full narrative available

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