NTSB Identification: FTW98FA031.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 24, 1997 in HAZEN, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-28RT-201, registration: N8146R
Injuries: 2 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.

While on a dark night cross country flight, the airplane impacted trees and terrain following a loss of aircraft control by the non instrument rated private pilot. Sky conditions along the flight route were 2,700 feet broken variable to 3,100 overcast ceilings and the controller last observed the aircraft transponder code at an altitude of 2,100 feet msl. The pilot's total flight time was 132.0 hours of which 7.7 hours were at night. The pilot had received 3.5 hours of dual flight instruction, and a complex aircraft endorsement in the accident aircraft. Flight control continuity was confirmed. No anomalies that would preclude engine operation were noted.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors were the pilot's lack of total experience in the make and model of aircraft, the pilot's lack of total night flight experience, and the dark night conditions,

Full narrative available

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