NTSB Identification: FTW98FA117.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 03, 1998 in GRAFORD, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200, registration: N15566
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.

The airplane was dispatched to pick up a stranded flightcrew that landed at the destination airport, 70 miles from home base. Fog had formed in the area. The airplane circled the airport, above the fog layer, but was unable to land due to the fog. After circling the airport, the airplane was heard proceeding east bound until the sound of the engines disappeared. An ELT signal was received by another airplane on the 290 degree radial, 19 miles from the Milsap VOR. There were no reported eyewitnesses. The wreckage was located the next morning on the eastern ledge of a granite ridgeline of a north-south oriented hill rising approximately 200 feet above the surrounding terrain. The wreckage was scattered for 270 feet on a heading of 240 degrees. Signatures at the initial point of impact indicate that the airplane contacted trees and terrain in controlled flight in a slight left wing down attitude. Flight control continuity was established. The landing gear and flaps were found in the retracted position.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with the ground. Factors were the dark night, the rising terrain, and the ground fog obscuring the ground.

Full narrative available

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