NTSB Identification: FTW98FA067.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 13, 1997 in JOHNSON CITY, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 180, registration: N20MF
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 aircraft impacted trees while on a night cross country flight from Bryan, Texas to Van Horn, Texas. Houston Center's radar acquired the aircraft as it departed the Coulter Airport. The aircraft proceeded to the southwest and the last radar hit was in the vicinity of Kitty Hill Airport, which is located about 7 miles southwest of Georgetown. The aircraft wreckage was located 30 days after the accident in a remote rural area. Center's radar tracked the VFR target until 40 nautical miles short of the accident site, about 7 miles west northwest of Johnson City. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The 62 year old non-instrument rated private pilot departed on the 435 mile night cross country flight with marginal VFR weather conditions. Ceilings were between 1,300 to 2,100 feet with visibility unrestricted and greater than 6 miles. Astronomical data showed that there was nearly a full moon; however, the aircraft was most likely operating under the ceiling without any illumination from the moon. Examination of the airplane and engine did not disclose any pre-impact structural or mechanical anomalies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Factors were the low ceilings, dark night light conditions, and the pilot's lack of visible horizon in the unpopulated area. Full narrative available
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