NTSB Identification: NYC07LA005.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 30, 1974 in Saltville, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N5142R
Injuries: 3 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 private pilot was issued his certificate one week prior to the accident, and he did not possess an instrument rating. After extensive discussions, flight planning, and weather analysis with the pilot, the fixed base operator agreed to rent the airplane for the planned cross-country flight, if the pilot agreed to fly only in day VFR conditions, and spend the night at an intermediate stop along his intended course. Instead, the pilot landed at the planned stop, refueled, and continued his flight over mountainous terrain in night instrument meteorological conditions. The wreckage was discovered in mountainous terrain 16 months after the accident. The crash site was at an elevation of 4,500 feet on a mountain with an elevation of 4,689 feet. On the night of the accident, the cloud ceilings in the area were measured between 2,700 feet and 4,000 feet mean sea level with visibility reduced by rain showers and fog.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into known night instrument meteorological conditions. Factors in the accident included mountainous terrain obscured by clouds, and dark night conditions.

Full narrative available

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