NTSB Identification: ATL03FA061.
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Accident occurred Friday, March 14, 2003 in Old Fort, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 177, registration: N3275T
Injuries: 3 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 non-instrument rated pilot was flying east through the mountains to keep an appointment. Once airborne, the pilot reported to a controller, "if the clouds come down a bit, I may want to do some scud-running." When the airplane failed to arrive at its destination, a search was initiated, and the airplane was located at an elevation of 2,860 feet in mountainous terrain 18 nautical miles east of the airport. Examination of the airframe, engine, and instruments revealed no evidence of malfunction. The airplane was topped off with fuel before departure, and 268 pounds of baggage was recovered from the wreckage.

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

The pilot's decision to continue VFR flight into IMC and his failure to maintain terrain clearance which resulted in an in-flight collision with mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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