NTSB Identification: NYC99FA007.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 12, 1998 in BENNINGTON, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/28/1999
Aircraft: Cessna 172G, registration: N1330F
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 departed on a 'leaf watching' flight. Afterwards, no one saw the airplane or talked with the pilot. The airplane was found approximately 800 feet below the top of a 3,800 foot mountain. The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, no instrument rating, and had accumulated 36.3 hours in the previous 18 months. Prior to that, he had not flown for 35 years. A flight instructor described the pilot's abilities as marginal. Weather at the time of the accident was approximately 1,200 foot overcast and 2 miles of visibility. A witness reported the accident site was obscured by clouds. The airplane entered the trees wings level, creating a 3 degree descent path.

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

The pilot's VFR flight into IMC. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of recent experience, mountainous/hilly terrain, and clouds.

Full narrative available

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