NTSB Identification: DEN05FA011.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, October 13, 2004 in Idaho Springs, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 182R, registration: N9437H
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.

At 0500 the pilot called FAA's Denver Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS). He asked the briefer for any reports of cloud tops in the Denver area. The briefer said that the forecast called "for the tops layered to twenty four thousand" feet. The briefer said the weather was improving in the Denver area, but weather conditions in the Aspen area were not expected to improve until later in the day. The pilot did not obtain a full weather briefing and declined a briefing on adverse weather conditions. At 0630, the pilot told a business associate his situation. He called the associate again at 0659 and told him that he was going to fly north to go around the weather. The airplane was reported missing when it failed to arrive in at its destination. The next afternoon, a surveyor came upon the wreckage. The wreckage was located in rising, wooded terrain. A witness, who resided approximately 1 mile uphill from the accident site, said he heard an airplane fly overhead at the approximate time of the accident. The witness said he heard the engine power "cut back" and then "power up" again. He said it sounded as if the airplane was 200 to 300 feet above the ground, flying in a southeasterly direction. He was unable to see the airplane due to poor visibility, low clouds, and fog. Weather 3 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, was as follows: "Wind, 360 degrees at 8 knots; visibility, less than 1/4 statute mile, light snow; sky condition, overcast 200 feet agl; temperature, minus 5 degrees C.; dew point, minus 6 degrees C. An examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain, and his inadequate planning and decision making resulting in VFR flight into IMC. Contributing factors include the pilot's self-induced pressure to arrive at his destination, the low ceiling and the fog.

Full narrative available

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