NTSB Identification: FTW02LA053.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 12, 2001 in Sierra Blanca, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Ryan Navion A, registration: N4530K
Injuries: 2 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.
According to the pilot, while en route under night visual flight rules the flight encountered clouds. During a maneuver to fly out of the clouds, the airplane impacted the terrain at an estimated elevation of 5,000 feet msl. A helicopter attempted to respond to the accident location, however, a snowstorm suspended their efforts. While sitting in the aircraft prior to departure, the pilot had obtained a weather briefing for a VFR flight. The pilot stated his intended cruising altitude would be 6,000 feet with a possibility of climbing to 9,000 or 10,000 feet. The briefer stated there was an AIRMET for rime icing along the route of flight, to which the pilot responded, "I will be VFR, I will not be in the clouds." The destination extended forecast reported visibility 6 plus statute miles, occasional 3 statute miles visibility, light snow showers, few clouds at 3,000 feet, ceilings at 5,000 broken and 12,000 overcast.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadverent VFR flight into instrument meteorological weather conditions which resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain. Contributing factors were the night light conditions and the clouds. Full narrative available
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