NTSB Identification: CHI06LA163.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 25, 2006 in Columbus, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Varga 2150A, registration: N8267J
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 was destroyed during an in-flight collision with trees and terrain, and a subsequent post-impact fire. Witnesses reported observing the airplane in low altitude flight along a river before it struck an overhanging tree limb. One witness reported that he saw the airplane flying the "terrain of the land about 50 feet above ground level," and that it proceeded "down the river really low." A second witness stated that he observed the airplane about 20 - 30 feet above the river. He reported that it banked as if attempting to follow a bend in the river when it appeared to strike the top of a tree. A third witness stated that he observed the airplane flying below the tree line and that it appeared to be attempting to follow the river. He noted that it apparently tried to climb when it clipped a tree and began to lose altitude. The airplane came to rest in a field on the opposite side of the river. A section of the right wing separated following the collision with the tree and was recovered from the river. The post accident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure. Toxicology testing indicated the presence of marijuana in the pilot's blood and lung tissue. The levels of marijuana noted in the report were consistent with the pilot being impaired at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from the trees during the attempted low altitude pass along the river. Contributing factors were the intentional low altitude flight maneuver, the pilot's improper decision to attempt that maneuver, and his impairment due to the effects of marijuana. Full narrative available
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