NTSB Identification: FTW03LA049.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 25, 2002 in Homer, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/2003
Aircraft: Girard RV-4, registration: N5246
Injuries: 2 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 non-instrument rated private pilot took off from the airport in instrument meteorological conditions for a cross country flight. Witnesses close to the accident site reported that very thick fog was in the area at the time of the accident. The witnesses heard the aircraft depart from the runway and make a right turn. A few minutes later, the engine was heard to "sputter," then "race up in rpm" followed by the sound of the impact with trees. The wreckage was located just north of the departure end of the runway in a marsh area that surrounded the airport. The initial impact was with trees approximately 30 feet in height. The airplane came to rest nose down in approximately 3 feet of water and was destroyed from the cabin forward. The airport guide notes that approximate 60 foot trees are located about 205 feet off both ends of the runway thresholds and about 195 to 200 feet from runway centerline.

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

The pilot's VFR flight into IMC conditions and his failure to obtain/maintain altitude/clearance from trees during the initial climb after takeoff. Contributing factors were fog and trees.

Full narrative available

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