NTSB Identification: CHI99FA356.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 27, 1999 in CLINTON, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/04/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N5747U
Injuries: 1 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 accident airplane was found in the Mississippi River. The pilot was found fatally injured. Automated Flight Service Station briefed N5747U's pilot six times and that pilot was told in each briefing that a visual flight rules flight was not recommended. Two witnesses heard an airplane fly overhead and then heard silence. Both said the weather was dark and raining. A witness said he flew in the local area, he descended into visual conditions at about 450 to 500 ft above ground level, and that conditions were consistent throughout the area. No signs of engine or airframe preimpact anomalies were found. All cylinders exhibited a thumb compression and engine control continuity was found. Both magnetos produced spark at all leads. Fuel was found in the hose leading to the carburetor and fuel exited the hose when the engine was rotated. A fuel like smell was present when the fuel tanks were recovered. Flight control continuity was found to all surfaces except to the left aileron. The left wing, outboard of the spar joint splice was not found.

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

the pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather conditions and not maintaining altitude/clearance. Factors were the low clouds, rain, and dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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