NTSB Identification: CHI05LA065.
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Accident occurred Saturday, February 05, 2005 in Rochester, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Ramsey RV-8A, registration: N44RX
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airplane contacted the trees and the terrain while maneuvering. The non-instrument rated pilot's initial transmission over the airport Unicom frequency was that he was six miles from the airport and that he was inbound for landing. Fifteen minutes later the pilot reported that he was going to circle near the airport and wait for the fog to lift. Shortly thereafter, the airplane impacted trees and descended into a frozen pond about one-half mile southeast of the airport. According to a witness, the visibility at the pilot's departure airport at the time of his departure was less then one-half mile due to fog. Visibility near the accident site at the time of the accident was described as being approximately 400 feet due to fog. The closest weather reporting facility, located 23 miles northeast of the accident site, was reporting one-quarter mile visibility due to freezing fog with a 100 foot overcast sky. Another weather reporting facility located 29 miles south of the accident site was reporting one-eighth of a mile visibility with freezing fog with clear skies. No record was found of the pilot having received a preflight weather briefing.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot failed to obtain a preflight weather briefing for his destination airport and he initiated the flight into known adverse weather conditions at the departure airport. The pilot subsequently failed to maintain adequate altitude while circling the airport which resulted in the failure to maintain clearance with the trees. Factors associated with the accident were the fog and the trees. Full narrative available
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