NTSB Identification: NYC04FA100.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 02, 2004 in Harrietstown, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-180, registration: N4686J
Injuries: 2 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.

Arriving in the area of the destination airport, the weather was reported as, 1-3/4 statute miles of visibility; light snow, mist; overcast cloud layer at 200 feet; temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The pilot performed an ILS procedure towards the runway. An employee at the airport received a radio transmission from the accident airplane, requesting a current altimeter setting. The employee replied back with the current altimeter setting. Moments later, the employee heard a transmission from the airplane that it was on a 4 mile final for the ILS approach. No further transmissions were received from the airplane. The airplane came to rest in a wooded area, about 3/4-mile from the runway threshold, about 300 feet right of the extended centerline. Review of the approach plate for the ILS approach revealed that the minimum glide slope intercept altitude at the beginning of the final approach segment on the precision approach was 4,300 feet msl. The glide slope altitude at the final approach fix for the non-precision approach, which was located about 4 miles from the approach end of the runway, was 3,619 feet msl. The glide slope altitude at the middle marker, which was located about 0.4 miles from the approach end of the runway, was 1,853 feet msl. Review of recovered GPS data revealed that about 1.75 miles from the runway, the airplane turned to the left of the final approach course. When the airplane was about 1/2 mile left of the final approach course, it began a turn to the right towards the final approach course. The last GPS data point was recorded about 5,073 feet from the runway threshold, along the final approach course, at an altitude of 1,765 feet msl. The elevation at the airport was 1,663 feet msl. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed times spans in excess of 6 months, where the pilot did not record 6 instrument approaches or IFR holding procedures. The pilot's last recorded instrument flight proficiency flight was dated October 26, 1996. According to Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 61.57 Recent flight experience, pilot-in-command, "...no person may act as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR, unless within the preceding 6 calendar months, that person has...performed and logged under actual or simulated instrument conditions, at least six instrument approaches, holding procedures, and intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigation systems...a person who does not meet the instrument experience requirements within the prescribed time, or within 6 calendar months after the prescribed time, may not serve as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR until that person passes an instrument proficiency check..."

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

The pilot's failure to follow instrument flight rules procedures resulting in a collision with a tree. Factors related to the accident were the dark night conditions, low visibility, and low cloud ceiling.

Full narrative available

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