NTSB Identification: SEA99LA025.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 25, 1998 in BELLINGHAM, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/11/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N2355Y
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that shortly after takeoff, during the ascent, he encountered instrument meteorological conditions at 500 feet AGL, and initiated a turn back to the airport. During the turn, the aircraft lost a considerable amount of altitude and collided with multiple tree tops. The pilot was able to continue to the airport and land without further incident. The pilot stated he did not receive a formal weather briefing from a flight service station and relied solely on the automated surface observation system report at the airport.

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

Inadequate preflight planning/preparation, and the pilot's failure to maintain altitude. VFR flight into IMC conditions and cloudy weather conditions were factors.

Full narrative available

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