NTSB Identification: NYC06FA071.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 22, 2006 in Mitchellville, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 172R, registration: N3536C
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

The airplane attempted two Global Positioning System instrument approaches to the destination airport in snow and fog, and descended 200 to 300 hundred feet below the minimum descent altitude of 700 feet each time. After the second approach, the airplane appeared out of the clouds over the south end of the runway, between 200 and 300 feet above the ground, and flew the length of the runway at low altitude. At the north end of the runway, the airplane turned west away from the airport, then circled to the right in a "dramatic" and "nose-high attitude" back towards the runway. The airplane overflew the runway headed south and turned west away from the airport, as engine power increased, and the flaps were retracted. The airplane then entered a steep left bank back towards the airport and "nose-dived" out of view. Seconds later, the sounds of impact were heard. Witnesses at the airport said the clouds were "on top of the trees" and that visibility was about 1/2 mile due to snow and fog. Examination of the wreckage revealed no mechanical deficiencies. Further examination of the airplane and its records revealed that the GPS database was expired, and that the airplane was above the manufacturer's maximum allowable gross weight.

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

The pilot's improper inflight planning/decision to attempt a landing in weather conditions below landing minimums, and his failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering. Factors in the accident were the fog and snow.

Full narrative available

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