NTSB Identification: FTW03FA048.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 24, 2002 in Salem, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/30/2007
Aircraft: Beech A36, registration: N367T
Injuries: 2 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 450-hour non-instrument rated private pilot collided with a mountain during a cross country flight in instrument meteorological conditions. Prior to departure, the pilot received a weather briefing from a flight service station and was advised that visual flight was not recommended. The pilot elected to depart and received another weather briefing while en route. The pilot was again advised that visual flight was not recommended due to mountain obscuration and icing. Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes into the flight, several witnesses heard the airplane (with the engine running) flying low toward a mountain followed by the sound of an explosion. One witness reported that it was snowing and the visibility was approximately 150 feet. Another witness reported the weather as a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow falling at the time of the accident. The airplane collided with mountainous terrain approximately 10 miles southwest of the destination airport at an elevation of 5,273 feet. Examination of the airplane revealed the landing gear was extended and the flaps were retracted. No mechanical deficiencies were noted with the airplane or the engine. The pilot, who was reported to be a physician, tested positive for several prescription narcotic painkillers, an over-the-counter pain releiver/fever reducer, and two over-the-counter antihistamines.

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

The pilot's inadequate inflight planning/decision to continue flight from visual to instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance from terrain while in cruise flight. A low ceiling, obscuration, mountainous terrain and impairing drugs in the pilot's system were factors.

Full narrative available

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