NTSB Identification: DEN03FA002.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 01, 2002 in Laramie, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna T210M, registration: N210HC
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 instrument rated pilot was on an IFR cross-country flight. During the course of the flight, he requested a "turn back on course and if you could work out a lower altitude, we'd appreciate it." He was soon cleared to "descend and maintain one seven thousand (feet)." The pilot later asked the controller if he could "work us out of one seven thousand (feet), down to one three thousand (feet) or one one thousand (feet)." The controller cleared the pilot to descend to 13,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged the clearance and remarked, "see if we can work our way through these clouds." Later, the pilot reported, "Got a pretty big opening. I'm gonna cancel out on this IFR. I think I can make a big circle and get under this scattered layer, if that's okay with you." The controller approved the pilot's request to cancel his IFR flight plan. The airplane was in a circling descent before radar contact was lost. The wreckage was located about 45 miles from the last radar contact. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accrued 37.3 and 82.0 hours in actual and simulated instrument meteorological conditions, respectively. According to the pilot's son, his father would file an IFR flight plan and fly in the IFR "system" to stay current with IFR procedures and controller phraseology but, as a rule, he avoided flying in actual instrument meteorological conditions.

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

the pilot's improper inflight planning/decision, and his failure to maintain terrain clearance while attempting a low altitude maneuver. Contributing factors were the mountainous terrain, the airplaneā€™s low altitude, and the pilot's lack of total instrument time.

Full narrative available

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