NTSB Identification: DEN04FA104.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 11, 2004 in Paris, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/24/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 172I, registration: N46174
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.
A witness who lived next to the airport said he heard the airplane at about 0530, but did not see the airplane. The witness said it was foggy, that you could not see beyond 50 feet. The witness said that the airplane sounded normal - "running like they revved it [the airplane] up for takeoff." He couldn't see because of the fog. He then heard a sound like something hitting a building. The witness said that later he left his house on personal business. When he came back, he drove into the pasture and found the airplane. A weather station 33 nautical miles west of the accident site reported a 300 foot ceiling, surface visibility of 5 statute miles and mist, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 71 degrees F, winds 040 degrees at 4 knots, and altimeter 30.10 inches. A weather station 30 nautical miles east of the accident site reported clear skies, a surface visibility of 6 statute miles and mist, temperature 68 degrees F, dew point 68 degrees F, calm winds, and altimeter 30.12 inches. The weather conditions at the time of the accident for the airport located 1/2 mile east of the accident site, was calm winds and a temperature and dew point of 69 degrees F. A local police officer observed the weather on the airport approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes before the accident. He described it as fog with a visibility of approximately 1/8 of a mile or less. An examination of the airplane's systems revealed no anomalies. The pilot's autopsy report stated, "... The degree of observed heart disease present can cause sudden and unexpected symptoms. There were no findings present, however, which would necessarily indicate that such symptoms did occur. ..." According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, "Somatogravic illusion" is a condition described where, "A rapid acceleration during takeoff can create the illusion of being in a nose up attitude. The disoriented pilot will push the aircraft into a nose low, or dive attitude. A rapid deceleration by a quick reduction of the throttles can have the opposite effect, with the disoriented pilot pulling the aircraft into a nose up or stall attitude." This illusion usually occurs at night or in instrument meteorological conditions.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's inadequate preflight preparation, his attempted flight into adverse weather conditions, and his failure to maintain clearance from the trees resulting in the airplane's collision with the trees and subsequent impact with the ground. Factors contributing to the accident were the fog, the low altitude, the pilot's inability to see objects and the terrain, and the trees.
Full narrative available
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