NTSB Identification: CHI04FA284.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 27, 2004 in Morris, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N735VY
Injuries: 1 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 airplane impacted terrain about 1.55 nautical miles south of the departure airport. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The non-instrument rated pilot contacted Princeton Automated Flight Service Station to file a visual flight rules flight plan. The pilot indicated that he would depart between 0530 and 0545 cdt. The flight plan was never activated. The pilot did not request, nor was he given a standard weather briefing. Records show he did not obtain weather information via a direct user access terminal service. However, the departure airport did have a commercial weather display terminal as well as an on-airport weather radio broadcast. The weather at the time of the accident included broken to overcast ceilings at 500 feet agl and visibilities between 7 and 10 sm. A pilot-rated witness reported seeing an airplane takeoff around the time of the accident. The witness stated that the airplane was about 1/2 sm southeast of the airport at about 200 feet above ground level. The witness remarked that the airplane's climb-out was shallower than a normal departure. The witness reported that there was some ground fog over the tops of the cornfields and in low-lying areas. The witness stated that the sky was not overcast as he observed stars at the time. No pre-impact anomalies were found with the airframe, engine or accessories. The pilot had 7.3 hours of night flight experience, of which 0.3 hours were without a flight instructor. The pilot's last logged night flight was more than two years prior to the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate weather evaluation that resulted flight into night instrument meteorological conditions and a subsequent loss of aircraft control. Factors to the accident were the pilot's lack of recent night experience and the low cloud ceiling at night.
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