NTSB Identification: NYC04FA139.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 13, 2004 in Rupert, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Beech 200, registration: N200BE
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.
An IFR flight plan and slot reservation were filed for the planned flight over mountainous terrain. The flightcrew intended to reposition to an airport about 30 miles southeast of the departure airport, pick up passengers, and then complete a revenue flight to another airport. The airplane departed VFR, and the flightcrew never activated the flight plan. A debris path was located, consistent with straight and level flight, near the peak of a mountain at 3,475 feet msl. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed near the accident site, about the time of the accident. Further investigation revealed the aircraft operator was involved in two prior weather related accidents, both of which resulted in fatalities. A third accident went unreported, and the weather at the time of that accident was unknown. Over a period of 14 years, the same FAA principal operations inspector was assigned to the operator during all four accidents; however, no actions were ever initiated as a result of any of the accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot-in-command's improper decision to continue VFR flight into IMC conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Factors were the FAA Principle Operations Inspector's inadequate surveillance of the operator, and a low ceiling.
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