NTSB Identification: ATL91FA084.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44907.
Accident occurred Saturday, April 20, 1991 in DUNLAP, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/24/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N5738J
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 INSTRUMENT-RATED PILOT AND PILOT-RATED PASSENGER WERE ON A PERSONAL FLIGHT TO A VFR-ONLY AIRPORT. THEIR FLIGHT REQUIRED THEM TO CROSS OVER A MOUNTAIN RIDGE EN ROUTE. LOW CEILINGS, WITH LIGHT DRIZZLE AND FOG, WERE REPORTED NEAR THEIR DESTINATION AIRPORT. WITNESSES ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN RIDGE HEARD THE DRONE OF AN ENGINE GETTING CLOSER UNTIL A CRASH WAS HEARD. A WITNESS WHO WAS FIRST ON THE SCENE REPORTED THAT FORWARD VISIBILITY ON THE RIDGE WAS ABOUT 75 YARDS. INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED THE SIDE OF THE RIDGE ON A DIRECT HEADING TO THE DESTINATION AIRPORT. THE DAMAGE INDICATED A LEVEL FLIGHT PATH, WITH WINGS LEVEL. THE PILOT DID NOT FILE A FLIGHT PLAN, DID NOT ACTIVATE ONE EN ROUTE, AND HAD NO VOICE COMMUNICATIONS WITH ATC. NO EVIDENCE OF MECHANICAL FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION WAS FOUND.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION, HIS ATTEMPTED VFR FLIGHT INTO IFR CONDITIONS, AND HIS SUBSEQUENT FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A PROPER ALTITUDE. FACTORS IN THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN, THE FOGGY, LOW CEILING CONDITIONS ALONG THE ROUTE OF FLIGHT.

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