NTSB Identification: ATL03FA062.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 15, 2003 in Perry, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 320D, registration: N4137T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

Upon approaching the destination airport, the pilot established radio contact with Approach Control, and reported a cruise altitude of 7,500 feet. and a 138- degree heading. The pilot was issued the current altimeter setting and he requested current weather for Perry, Georgia. The nearest weather reporting facility reported 600-foot ceiling and 7 miles visibility. Later into the radio conversation, the pilot was asked if he was instrument qualified and the pilot stated he was instrument qualified. When the controller asked the pilot for his current flight conditions, the pilot reported that he was at 1300 feet and requested a direct heading to Perry. The controller told the pilot that the airport was 10 miles off his two o'clock position. At 2226:04, radio and radar contact was lost with the airplane. Witnesses near the accident site observed a fireball followed by a crashing sound. Within minutes, the airplane wreckage was located, and the passenger was rescued. Examination of the accident site disclosed that wreckage debris was scattered over an area 850 feet long and 75 feet wide. The examination of the wreckage path also revealed several fresh gouges in the dirt, and there were paint chips and other debris from the airframe embedded in the ground. There were also several fire-damaged pieces of airframe material scattered throughout the wreckage path. The fire-damaged rudder assembly was lodged in a tree about 400 feet south of the main wreckage. The main wreckage, which consisted of the airframe center section cockpit and empennage, was wrapped around the base of a pecan tree 725 feet north of the first freshly damaged pecan tree along the wreckage path. The left engine assembly was 75 feet northwest of the main airframe. Examination of the wreckage debris failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure.

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

The pilot continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his failure to maintain altitude/terrain clearance.

Full narrative available

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