NTSB Identification: NYC05CA127.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 31, 2005 in New Marlboro, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Yakovlev 55M, registration: N1003G
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The weather was deteriorating as the pilot approached his destination airport. Approximately 20 miles from his destination, the previously scattered cloud layer became solid and blocked off the view of the sky. Approximately 7 miles from his destination, the pilot observed lightning several miles to the southeast. The pilot thought the storm "was well south" of his current position, and he elected to continue to his destination. He further stated "...not many seconds later, I was in the storm with torrential rain, lightning within 3 miles, and heavy turbulence....". The pilot elected to perform a precautionary landing to a field, on slight uphill terrain. While on approach to the south, the pilot reduced the engine power, and the airplane developed a high sink rate. The pilot added power; however, the airplane landed hard, and was substantially damaged. After the accident, the pilot noted that the winds were strong, and probably from the north, with the possibility of downdrafts and wind shear. A weather observation taken at an airport located about 30 miles east-southeast of the accident site, about the time of the accident, included the remarks: "LTG DSNT SW AND W."

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

The pilot's improper weather evaluation which resulted in a precautionary off airport landing; and his improper flare which resulted in a hard landing. A factor in this accident was weather associated with thunderstorm activity.

Full narrative available

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