NTSB Identification: ANC02FA010.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 15, 2002 in HAINES, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-32, registration: N30004
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 commercial certificated air taxi pilot, the sole occupant, was scheduled to depart on a domestic passenger flight for an intermediate airport, located 14 miles south of the departure airport. The pilot was to pick up two passengers for a continuing flight to the planned destination. The route of the flight was along fjord type terrain, consisting of steep mountain slopes above a long inlet of water. The flight to the intermediate airport usually took about 10 minutes. The pilot delayed his departure for about 10 minutes while he waited for weather conditions along the route to improve. After departure, the pilot reported via radio that he was at a commonly used visual reporting point, about four miles south of the departure airport. The airplane did not arrive at the intermediate airport, and no further communication was received from the accident airplane. An aerial search located the wreckage in an area of steep forested terrain, 300 feet above the inlet water. The airplane collided with several trees before descending to the ground. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the intermediate airport, but low cloud conditions prevailed along the route of flight from the departure airport. At the time of the accident, an automated weather observation system (ASOS), located 5 miles southwest of the accident site, was reporting the weather conditions, in part, as having a visibility of four statute miles in light freezing rain and mist; clouds and sky condition, 800 feet overcast; temperature, 32 degrees F; dew point, 31 degrees F. The terminal forecast for the departure airport, and the area forecast, contained low visibilities in light rain and mist. An AIRMET was issued for mountain obscuration in clouds and precipitation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and subsequent collision with trees while in cruise flight. Factors in the accident were weather conditions consisting of freezing rain, mist, and low ceilings. Full narrative available
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