NTSB Identification: NYC01FA128.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 21, 2001 in Danvers, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N8365M
Injuries: 3 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 pilot and two passengers departed on a night VFR flight. Weather at the time was approximately 100 foot overcast and 2 1/2 miles in mist. When the airplane was approximately 100 feet agl, the landing light went out, and the airplane entered the overcast. The airplane came out of the overcast in about a 15-degree nose low attitude, and then climbed back into the clouds. The airplane crashed shortly afterwards and a post-crash fire erupted. The airplane impacted the ground approximately 70-degrees nose low. Examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact failures with the airplane, or any of its systems. There was no record of the pilot receiving a weather briefing on the night of the accident. The pilot had approximately 1,800 of total flight experience with approximately 13 hours being in the previous 30 days. The pilot's expired FAA medical certificate restricted him from night flight because of defective color vision. There was no record of the pilot obtaining a weather briefing prior to the flight.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors in the accident were the dark night, low ceiling, reduced visibility, and the pilot's decision to attempt a visual flight rules flight in marginal weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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