NTSB Identification: ATL91FA069.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44832.
Accident occurred Friday, March 22, 1991 in ASHLAND, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N7523C
Injuries: 4 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 PILOT RECEIVED A COMPLETE WEATHER BRIEFING, WHICH INCLUDED CONVECTIVE WEATHER INFORMATION. HE WAS ADVISED BY THE BRIEFER THAT VISUAL FLIGHT WAS NOT RECOMMENDED BECAUSE OF FORECASTED LOW CLOUDS AND REDUCED VISIBILITY. DURING THE FLIGHT, THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH A MOUNTAIN RIDGE AT ABOUT THE 2000 FT LEVEL. REPORTEDLY, THE MOUNTAIN TOP(S) WERE OBSCURED BY FOG. THE PILOT FLIGHT PLANNED FOR A CRUISE ALTITUDE OF 2000 FT; HOWEVER, THE MAXIMUM ELEVATION FIGURE FOR THE QUADRANGLE IN WHICH THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED WAS 3100 FT. EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE AND ACCIDENT SITE FAILED TO INDICATE A MECHANICAL PROBLEM. TOXICOLOGY EXAMS OF THE PILOT'S BLOOD DETECTED 0.068 UG/ML OF BENZOYLECGONINE (METABOLITE OF COCAINE).

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

CONTINUED VFR FLIGHT BY THE PILOT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SUFFICIENCE ALTITUDE/CLEARANCE ABOVE THE WOODED TERRAIN. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, HIGH TERRAIN, AND THE PILOT'S RECENT USE OF COCAINE.

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