NTSB Identification: DEN02LA023.
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Accident occurred Monday, January 28, 2002 in American Fork, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2002
Aircraft: Beech V35B, registration: N1176T
Injuries: 1 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 pilot told the lineman he was preparing to depart since he had to get back to work. The lineman thought "nobody in their right mind would try flying at that time [since] there was a winter storm moving through the area." It was as though they were '"in the eye of a hurricane,'" and be couldn't believe the pilot would try taking off in the storm. The pilot said he was going to "scud run" to his intended destination, about 103 miles to the south, but would turn around if he couldn't make it. The lineman said, "I couldn't believe what he was telling me. I told him that every year, we get two or three airplanes trying to scud run, and they run into the mountains." The pilot told him that he was instrument rated, but was not current. The lineman showed the pilot computer radar images depicting large buildups throughout the area. As the pilot prepared to depart, another lineman brushed frost off the wings. The pilot took off before all the frost could be removed and disappeared into clouds a mile south of the airport. The wreckage was located the following day in a canyon. Radar data showed the airplane tracking along an interstate highway before turning left and entering the canyon. As it went further east into the canyon, it made four consecutive climbing left turns before radar contact was lost.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's poor judgment in that he intentionally initiated VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing factors were low ceiling and obscuration, and the pilot's lack of recent instrument time. Full narrative available
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