NTSB Identification: MIA05FA045.
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Accident occurred Monday, January 10, 2005 in Leesburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N1266T
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.

Witnesses stated that they heard an airplane on final approach to the airport in poor visibility around 2330 pm. There was no unusual noise or observations before the airplane's engine went silent after the sound of an impact; no fire or explosion was seen at that time due to the fog. A visual search by the Lake County Sheriff's office of the area where the airplane may be located was conducted; however, the fog and nighttime hindered the search operation. The sheriff's aviation department could not assist in the search until the weather cleared in the morning. At 0245 a representative of the Civil Air Patrol advised the sheriff's department that an emergency locator transmitter signal was received in the area previously searched. At 0410, the airplane was located in a swamp along the flight path to the airport. The weather at the airport at about the time of the accident was winds 070 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 1 3/4 statue miles with mist, clouds overcast at 200 feet. The temperature was 17 degrees Celsius and dew point was 17 degrees Celsius. The barometric pressure was 30.24. The airplane came to rest in an upright position in the swamp terrain. Near to the wreckage a couple of trees were observed with impact damage. The damage incurred by the airplane and the surrounding vegetation was indicative of a nose low, left wing down attitude during a vertical descent at the time of impact. The left and right flaps settings by flap mechanism measurement were consisted with a 25 degrees flap down position. The measurement on the pitch trim drum was consistent with a 3 degrees tab deflection in a nose up attitude. No pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions of the aircraft structure, flight control systems, or engine were noted during the examination. At the time of the accident the pilot was not in contact with any ATC Facilities and no flight plan was filed. The pilot did not hold an instrument rating.

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

The pilot's decision to continue VMC flight into IMC conditions.

Full narrative available

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