NTSB Identification: FTW03FA016.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 20, 2002 in Paron, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-301, registration: N4353Y
Injuries: 6 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.

Prior to departure the non-instrument rated pilot contacted the Automated Flight Service Station and requested an en route weather briefing. The Specialist advised the pilot there was an Airmet currently valid for instrument flight rule conditions over the route of flight, but that conditions would be improving to marginal visual flight rule conditions later in the day. A witness, who resides 1 mile north of the accident site, went outside when he heard a small plane flying over his house at a low altitude. The witness said he heard changes in the sound of the engine but said it did not sound like it was cutting out, and that it was getting lower. On site documentation revealed that the aircraft collided with several trees. Post-accident examinations of the aircraft did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operations.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain altitude/clearance from terrain. Contributing factors were the low ceiling, the pilot's decision to fly in known adverse weather conditions, and his lack of an instrument rating.

Full narrative available

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