NTSB Identification: ATL06LA019.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 27, 2005 in Blairsville, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N6485R
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 non-instrument rated private pilot stated he and his wife arrived at the departure airport the day before the accident. The airplane was topped off with fuel and they remained over night in the local area. The pilot and his wife returned to the airport the following morning and elected not to depart on the VFR flight due to weather obscuring the mountain tops. The pilot checked the weather using the Aviation Weather Observation Service and departed. The pilot and his wife returned to the airport and departed VFR at 1300. The pilot encountered weather along the route of flight and returned to the departure airport 30 minutes later. The pilot and his wife remained at the airport and departed VFR at 1530. The pilot stated he encountered a cloud while attempting to climb over the mountains. The base of the cloud was about 2,000 feet and he was at 3,500 feet. The pilot attempted to maneuver around the cloud in an attempt to clear a ridgeline. The pilot stated he could not reverse his direction due to insufficient space to turn around. The mountain top is at an elevation of 4,461 feet. The airplane collided with the mountain 1,261 feet below the top of the mountain. The surface weather observation at the departure airport was visibility 10 miles, 2,700 broken and 3,800 feet overcast. The airplane collided with trees and came to a stop. The pilot exited the airplane, walked most of the night trying to find help, and located a camper the following morning. The camper called the emergency 911 operators and the pilot was transported to a local area hospital. The pilot stated the airplane did not experience a mechanical failure or malfunction before the accident.

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

The non-instrument rated pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather and his failure to maintain clearance in mountainous terrain, resulting in an in-flight collision with trees and the ground. A factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of an instrument rating.

Full narrative available

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