NTSB Identification: ATL91LA034.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42431.
Accident occurred Saturday, December 08, 1990 in HICKORY, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/02/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9685J
Injuries: 2 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.

WHILE ON A LOCAL SIGHTSEEING FLIGHT, THE PILOT HEARD A LOUD 'POW' AND REALIZED THAT THE AIRPLANE HAD COLLIDED WITH A POWER LINE THAT WAS STRUNG ACROSS A RIVER. HE STATED THAT THE AIRPLANE 'PULLED TO THE RIGHT' AFTER THE COLLISION, HOWEVER HE WAS ABLE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL. HE RETURNED TO THE AIRPORT AND LANDED THE AIRPLANE AFTER TWO ATTEMPTS. AN INSPECTION OF THE AIRPLANE REVEALED THAT THE TOP THIRD OF THE VERTICAL STABILIZER AND THE RUDDER HAD SEPARATED FROM THE AIRPLANE. THE POWER LINE WHICH WAS STRUCK WAS REPORTED TO BE ABOUT 40 FEET ABOVE THE SURFACE OF THE WATER. THE PILOT REPORTED THAT HE DID NOT REALIZE THAT HE WAS FLYING SO LOW TO THE WATER. THE ACCIDENT WAS REPORTED TO THE FAA BY ANONYMOUS SOURCES; THE PILOT HAD MADE NO ATTEMPT TO REPORT THE ACCIDENT.

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

THE PILOTS'S INADEQUATE VISUAL LOOKOUT DURING FLIGHT. A FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A SAFE ALTITUDE.

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