NTSB Identification: DEN89LA221.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39900.
Accident occurred Monday, September 18, 1989 in NEIHART, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/1991
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N3456X
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE INSTRUMENT RATED COMMERCIAL PILOT REPORTED THAT HE WAS CRUISING AT 14,500 FEET WHEN HE ENCOUNTERED CLOUDS. HE DESCENDED TO 12,500 FEET AND THEN TO 11,000 FEET IN AN EFFORT TO AVOID THE WEATHER. HE STATED 'I DESCENDED DOWN TO ELEVEN THOUSAND AND THE TREES CAME RIGHT UP ON ME. I WAS VFR, DIDN'T FILE A FLIGHT PLAN . . .' ELEVATION OF THE CRASH SITE WAS 9175 FEET.

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

VFR FLIGHT BY THE PILOT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC) AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT ALTITUDE. RELATED FACTORS WERE: THE HIGH TERRAIN AND ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS.

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