NTSB Identification: CHI99FA278.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 05, 1999 in GRAYSLAKE, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N56718
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 airplane struck power lines while maneuvering at night. FAA radar tracked an aircraft beacon from seven statute miles southeast of Lake Lawn Airport to its last recorded point, 1 mile southwest of Campbell Airport, at 900 feet MSL. A witness said he saw the aircraft 'flying at a low altitude', the 'planes landing lights illuminate a high power tension line tower', and he 'saw three flashes of blue light in the sky.' A high voltage wire was found torn 20 feet west of its 132.25 feet high tower. Campbell Airport's elevation is 788 feet MSL. The airport was about 3/4 mile and 035 degrees from that tower. The pilot's last recorded night flight was June 29, 1998. An on-scene inspection of the airplane revealed that there was control and engine continuity. A witness stated he saw an explosion. The on-scene investigation revealed a fire limited to the detached left wing. The rest of the airplane impacted terrain northwest of the torn high voltage wire.

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

the pilot not maintaining altitude and clearance. Factors were the light condition of night, the pilot's lack of recent experience in night operations, and the transmission wire.

Full narrative available

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