NTSB Identification: SEA88FA032.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 35033.
Accident occurred Sunday, December 20, 1987 in EASTSOUND, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/25/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N4306J
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 PLT DEPD SOUTH FROM AN UNATTENDED ISLAND ARPT AT SEA LEVEL & FLEW INTO MARGINAL VFR CONDS WITH MODERATE SNOWFALL. ACQUAINTANCES AT THE ARPT RPRTD THE PLT EXPRESSED AN URGENT NEED TO RETURN TO SNOHOMISH, WA, DESPITE THE WX CONDS. WHEN THE ACFT DID NOT ARRIVE, A SEARCH WAS INITIATED. A USCG HELICOPTER CREW LOCATED THE WRECKAGE BY HOMING ON A WEAK ELT SIGNAL THE NEXT DAY. THE ACFT HAD HIT TREES ON A KNOLL IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN ABOUT 4 MI SSW OF THE DEP ARPT. IMPACTOCCURRED ON A NORTHERLY HEADING AT AN ELEV OF ABOUT 1400' MSL. THE FLAP HANDLE WAS FND IN THE 2ND NOTCH. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION WAS EVIDENT. THE PLT WAS NOT INSTRUMENT RATED. AN AIRLINE EMPLOYEE, WORKING OUTDOORS SOUTH OF THE ARPT, OBSERVED THE ACFT DRG THE INITIAL CLIMB. HE RPRTD THE ACFT APPEARED TO BE OPERATING NORMALLY & ESTIMATED THE CEILING IN THAT AREA WAS ABOUT 1000' AGL WITH 3 MI VIS & MODERATE SNOWFALL. THE ARPT ELEV WAS 25'. ABOUT 18 MI WEST,THE WX WAS IN PART: 400' PARTIAL OBSCURATION, 1300' BROKEN, VIS 2.5 MI WITH SNOW, WIND 270 DEG AT 4 KTS.

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

VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC..CONTINUED..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

OBJECT..TREE(S)


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY


Contributing Factors

FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER..INITIATED..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

SELF-INDUCED PRESSURE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..HIGH TERRAIN


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LOW CEILING


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..SNOW


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..OBSCURATION

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