NTSB Identification: IAD98FA068.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 10, 1998 in DELAPLANE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/2000
Aircraft: Beech F33A, registration: N6033U
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 pilot and pilot rated passenger (PRP) were en route to Frederick (FDK), Maryland, when the airplane collided with mountainous terrain 40 miles from the destination. Several witnesses near the crash site heard an airplane overfly their homes at a low altitude. They reported that the engine was operating as it flew overhead, then they heard the engine stop followed by a 'thud.' According to the witnesses, it was cloudy, and the fog had covered the tops of the 50 foot tall trees. The flight followed the successful completion of a visual flight rules (VFR) cross country flying event. According to the Chairperson of the U.S. Air Race, Inc., the event organizers terminated the daylight and VFR-only event early because weather conditions did not appear to permit a VFR flight to FDK. Several VFR aircraft landed short of FDK and drove the remaining distance. According to Air Traffic Control records the pilot did not file a flight plan. An Air Traffic Controller said, '...Aircraft were canceling their [instrument flight rules] IFR either after landing or short final which caused other inbounds to hold or get delaying vectors.'. AIRMET SIERRA update number 5 issued at 1545, and was current for mountain obscuration and IFR ceilings and visibility's over the accident location. The weather at FDK was IFR and instrument approaches were in use. Examination of the airplane and engine did not disclose any evidence of mechanical malfunction.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight decision which led to VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Also causal was the pilot's failure to maintain adequate terrain clearance resulting in collision with mountainous terrain. Contributing factors were low clouds, fog, mountainous terrain, obscuration, low altitude flying and the pilot's self-induced pressure.

Full narrative available

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