NTSB Identification: NYC05FA001.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 10, 2004 in Germantown, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N2771J
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.

Prior to departing on a round-trip flight, the non-instrument rated pilot telephoned a flight service station and received a standard weather briefing. The briefing included information about marginal VFR conditions for the proposed return trip; including increased cloud cover and scattered showers. VFR flight was not recommended for the return trip. After completing the first leg of the trip, the pilot again telephoned the flight service station. The second briefing included information about a slow moving cool front with poorer weather conditions north and west of the planned route, with the possibility of a shower or two along the route. At the time, one of the airports near the route was reporting marginal VFR conditions. The return flight was conducted at night, and proceeded uneventfully for approximately two-thirds of the planned flight. The pilot was receiving flight following, and asked the controller how high the clouds were, so that he could get out of them. The airplane then descended rapidly in a left turn and struck trees.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision which led to VFR flight into IMC and his loss of aircraft control. Factors were night and cloud conditions.

Full narrative available

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