NTSB Identification: MIA00FA043.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 08, 1999 in PELHAM, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-32RT-300T, registration: N39696
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 student pilot departed into weather observed as 2,000 feet overcast, 6 miles visibility in light rain, with a temperature-dew point spread of 1 degree C., sometime after 1630 and at about 1717 crashed into a 800-to 900-foot ridgeline about 10 miles southeast of his departure point. Witnesses near the crash site stated that localized land clearing fires contributed to worsening visibility, and that they could hear the airplane maneuvering overhead in a generally southeast heading. On site examination of the wreckage of the airframe, engine, and their respective components revealed no mechanical abnormalities.

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

The student pilot's decision to continue the visual flight rules flight into deteriorating visibility, and his failure to maintain altitude clearance with the terrain.

Full narrative available

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