NTSB Identification: CHI92LA194.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 47234.
Accident occurred Thursday, July 02, 1992 in BELMONT, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9735J
Injuries: 3 Minor,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 DEPARTED AT NIGHT IN INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS WITHOUT A FLIGHT PLAN. ABOUT TEN MINUTES AFTER TAKEOFF, THE PILOT REALIZED WEATHER CONDITIONS WERE 'FAR POORER' THAN EXPECTED AND THE FOG WAS HAMPERING HIS VISION. HE CHOSE TO RETURN TO THE DEPARTURE AIRPORT, AND WAS IN A LEFT HAND TURN WHEN THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED TREES. THE PILOT STATED DUE TO THE POOR WEATHER HIS ATTENTION WAS DIVERTED FROM NAVIGATION. THE AIRPLANE HAD WANDERED SEVERAL MILES OFF COURSE, INTO AN AREA OF HIGHER TERRAIN. A POST-IMPACT GROUND FIRE ENSUED.

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

THE PILOT'S POOR PLANNING/DECISION MAKING. RELATED FACTORS ARE THE LOW CEILINGS AND FOG, THE DARK NIGHT, THE PILOT'S INACCURATE WEATHER EVALUATION AND DIVERTED ATTENTION, AND THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CLEARANCE FROM THE HIGHER TERRAIN ENCOUNTERED.

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