NTSB Identification: BFO91LA032.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44128.
Accident occurred Sunday, March 17, 1991 in ROANOKE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/05/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA32-260, registration: N4870T
Injuries: 5 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 AIRCRAFT WAS ON AN NIGHT IFR FLIGHT FROM WASHINGTON'S DULLES AIRPORT TO ROANOKE, VIRGINIA. THE PILOT REPORTED THAT FROM AN ALTITUDE OF 5000 FEET ON A RIGHT BASE LEG, HE WAS CLEARED FOR A VISUAL APPROACH TO RUNWAY 24. HE ADVISED THE TOWER THAT HE HAD ALL TERRAIN IN SIGHT AND STATED THAT THE THE ATIS HAD INDICATED A 25,000 FOOT OVERCAST WITH 15 MILES VISIBILITY. AT 6.2 NAUTICAL MILES (LORAN C) FROM THE RUNWAY, HE STATED THAT THE AIRCRAFT ENCOUNTERED A DOWNDRAFT AND STRUCK THE TOP OF A TREE ON A MOUNTAIN RIDGE. HE MAINTAINED CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT AND LANDED ON RUNWAY 24.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN TERRAIN CLEARANCE ON A NIGHT VISUAL APPROACH.

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