NTSB Identification: ATL04FA075.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 11, 2004 in Alma, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N6473J
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 pilot was operating under visual flight rules (VFR) with flight following and requested to descend toward the airport. An air traffic controller instructed the pilot to maintain VFR. The last recorded radar position for the flight was approximately 9 nautical miles southeast of the airport at 2,400 feet MSL. The controller stated to the pilot, "radar contact lost squawk VFR change to advisory frequency approved," and the pilot acknowledged. No further radio or radar contact was made with the flight. The wreckage was found at the base of broken trees in a wooded area 0.9 nm south southeast of the runway 33 threshold, approximately 1,100 feet left of a straight-in course for runway 33. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction was observed. The automated weather observing system at the airport reported calm winds, reduced visibility with light rain and mist, and low clouds at the approximate time of the accident.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight decision, and his failure to maintain aircraft control which resulted in continued VFR flight into IMC and the subsequent collision with trees during approach.

Full narrative available

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