NTSB Identification: CHI02LA070.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 27, 2002 in Alexandria, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Bellanca 17-30A, registration: N4002B
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 non-instrument rated pilot attempted flight into known instrument meteorological conditions. A witness reported that approximately 5 minutes after the accident airplane's departure, "... someone keyed their mike and we heard heavy breathing and cussing over the radio." The witness stated that shortly after the transmission, the accident airplane emerged from the overcast cloud layer and banked steeply prior to impacting the terrain. Weather around the time of the accident was 100 feet agl overcast with 3/4 statute mile visibility with mist. There was an AIRMET in effect for instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions including occasional ceilings below 1,000 feet agl and/or visibilities below 3 statute miles with light snow, light freezing drizzle, and mist. There was an AIRMET in effect for icing conditions, including occasional moderate rime/mixed/clear-icing while in clouds and/or precipitation below 6,000 feet agl. Prior to the accident flight a person representing the accident airplane contacted an Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) and requested a visual flight rules (VFR) weather briefing. The AFSS weather briefer told the pilot that IFR weather conditions were forecasted at the departure airport. At the time of the post-accident examination of the wreckage there was approximately 0.125-inch of ice on the leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers and top-mounted communication antenna. There were trace amounts of ice located on the leading edge of the right wingtip. No anomalies were found with the airframe, engine, or propeller that could be associated with a pre-impact condition.

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

The pilot's disregard of the weather evaluation and his attempt to fly into known adverse weather without an instrument rating. Factors in the accident were the low ceiling, the low visibility, and the icing conditions.

Full narrative available

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