NTSB Identification: IAD99FA005.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 13, 1998 in BOWIE, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/2000
Aircraft: Cessna R172K, registration: N736KL
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 was scheduled to fly the early morning traffic watch with a traffic reporter, for about 3 hours, to provide coverage in the Washington/Virginia area. The reporter said they departed about 6:00 a.m. and that he was unable to provide his first traffic update due to the ground fog. A witness about a 1/4 mile from the accident site, said he heard an airplane circle overhead, but he was unable to see it through the dense fog. Shortly thereafter, through the broken clouds, he saw a blue and white airplane, followed by an engine surge, and then he heard an impact. The airplane struck the patio of a residence. The airplane and the rear section of the residence was destroyed as a result of the collision and post-crash fire. A helicopter pilot who was also reporting traffic said that the ceiling was about 300 feet and there was no forward visibility. The traffic reporter in the accident airplane said that they were about 400 feet, and they tried to land, but the pilot added power with 40 degree of flaps. He said the airplane stalled and he heard the pilot say, 'Oh no.' Examination of the engine and airframe 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 failure to maintain adequate airspeed which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Also causal was the pilot's poor in-flight planning/decision, and his continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. A related factor was the fog.

Full narrative available

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