NTSB Identification: NYC98FA124.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, June 03, 1998 in DALTON, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N75137
Injuries: 3 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.

Before departure, the non instrument rated, pilot rated passenger received two weather briefings. During the first briefings she was advised that VFR flight was not recommended. The second briefing she did not complete, expressing concern about the weather. She then briefed her father, who was also a non instrument rated pilot about the weather, adding she did not feel comfortable with the conditions. The father then called Bridgeport AFSS, and requested the cloud tops. The airplane departed, and the pilot requested radar traffic advisories from approach control. The last 37 seconds of radar beacon data revealed that the airplane turned left approximately 180 degrees and descended from 6,500 feet msl to 5,600 feet msl. The airplane then entered an uncontrolled descent and the right wing separated. The pilot had a total of 350.0 hours of flight experience, and the pilot rated passenger had a total of 90.2 hours of flight experience. At the time of the accident, another pilot in the area reported IMC conditions from 6,000 feet msl to 8,000 feet msl and moderate turbulence. Examination of the wreckage revealed no structural failures from fatigue.

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

The pilot's decision to continue the flight into instrument meteorological conditions, resulting in a loss of control, and airplane stress limits to be exceeded. Factors in the accident, the pilot's decision to disregard the preflight weather briefing, and his lack of instrument flight certification.

Full narrative available

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