NTSB Identification: ANC04LA022.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 14, 2004 in Crescent City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2004
Aircraft: Bertrand/Warner Thorp T-18, registration: N98WB
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The solo private certificated pilot was en route to a private airport to attend a fly-in for homebuilt aircraft owners/builders. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, but instrument meteorological conditions were reported along the pilot's route of flight. A friend said that accident pilot had attempted the same flight earlier in the day, but was unable to reach the airport due to low clouds and fog. Several residents in the vicinity of the accident site reported low clouds, fog, and reduced visibility in the area at the time of the accident. Ear witnesses reported hearing what sounded like a low flying airplane to the east, over a large lake. The witnesses said that as the airplane's engine sound increased, they heard a sudden impact, and the engine noise stopped abruptly. The witnesses consistently reported that they were not able to see the airplane due to very low visibility in mist and fog, and that the accident airplane's engine appeared to be producing full power prior to striking the water. Search and rescue personnel located the submerged airplane wreckage, and discovered the pilot's body inside, still restrained within the pilot's seat.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his failure to maintain terrain clearance. Factors associated with the accident were fog and low ceilings.

Full narrative available

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