NTSB Identification: ATL03FA049.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 26, 2003 in Sylvania, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N54406
Injuries: 1 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.
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed with fog, no flight plan was filed, and the pilot was not instrument rated. A witness in the vicinity of the accident site reported that he saw the airplane clip a Comcast television tower, then saw parts falling off. He said it came across the road and in front of him. Then it nose-dived into the ground and exploded. Wreckage debris was located in a wooded grass area near the tower. Examination of the wreckage disclosed that one propeller blade displayed leading edge saw tooth nicks and gouges and was bent and twisted aft approximately 50-degrees. The other propeller blade was bent aft approximately 70-degrees from the hub. Further examination of the right wing assembly disclosed about a two foot wide section of the wing was found separated into two-pieces, and found near the base of the tower. The separation area was cut uniformly from the leading edge to the trailing edge of the wing and continuing through the two feet wide center section of the aileron. Witnesses also stated that the visibility in the area was poor do to foggy conditions. Local authorities also confirmed that when they arrived on-scene it was very foggy and visibility was extremely poor. The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Bulloch County Airport in Statesboro, Georgia, recorded at 1202, were winds from 110-degrees at 4 knots; 4 statue miles of visibility with overcast at 600-feet. Temperature was reported at 15-degrees Celsius, dew point 12-degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.07. According to a weather depiction chart recorded at 1600Z, Sylvania, Georgia and the surrounding area reported instrument weather conditions with ceilings less than 1,000 feet and or visibility less than 3 miles.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's decision to conduct VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Related factors were the guy wire and the fog. Full narrative available
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