NTSB Identification: ATL04FA159.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 18, 2004 in Sylvester, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Beech 36TC, registration: N1525M
Injuries: 4 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 received a weather briefing at about 1305. The briefer advised him of convective activity from Sarasota, Florida extending up to Georgia moving east northeast at 30 knots with tops to Flight Level (FL) 450. The briefer also stated thunderstorms were east, west and south of Columbus, Georgia moving east at 25-35 knots. During the course of the flight. Air Traffic Control (ATC) issued several broadcast messages regarding convective SIGMET activity. At about 1649, the pilot advised the Jacksonville Center that he was level at 10,000 feet. At about 1656, the controller asked the pilot if he had a storm scope or weather radar onboard, which the pilot replied "I have a storm scope." The controller advised the pilot that there was a significant cell 10 miles in front of him extending 30 miles. The pilot advised that he was looking and asked. "what does the weather look like if we turned about heading 336 now." The controller stated that the cell extended all the way from Albany towards Ashburn airport. That it was a solid cell 20 miles wide with Level 4 and 5 thunderstorms. The pilot asked if he could have a suggested heading. The controller advised that there were no openings. The pilot then asked how far was the cell and the controller replied 5 miles and suggested. "If you wanted to go eastbound that's the clearest route due east about 45 miles than northbound that's the clearest route. "The pilot replied, "we'll try that." There was no further transmissions from the pilot. At 1708, radar contact was lost with the flight.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision resulting in flight into thunderstorms resulting in an in-flight breakup of the airframe.

Full narrative available

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