NTSB Identification: IAD02FA075.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 26, 2002 in Clear Spring, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Beech S-35, registration: N5761K
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 airplane first departed VFR about 1000. About 15 minutes later, the pilot contacted the tower controller and stated that he was returning to the airport because he "could not maintain VFR." After landing, the pilot called flight service and canceled his VFR flight plan, received an abbreviated weather briefing, and stated that he would attempt the same flight later in the day. At 1121, the airplane departed VFR again. At 1124, the pilot contacted a center controller and requested VFR flight following. The controller suggested that the pilot land, and file an IFR flight plan. Several witnesses in a mountainous area reported that they heard an airplane fly overhead, then heard the sound of a crash. Some witnesses saw the airplane appear briefly out of the clouds, then re-enter the clouds seconds before impacting rising terrain. Witnesses also reported rain and dense fog at the time, with visibility estimates ranging from 50 to 150 feet.

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

The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with rising terrain. Factors included dense fog and mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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