NTSB Identification: CHI07FA052.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, January 02, 2007 in Washington, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Beech 58, registration: N678DC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 impacted trees and terrain while attempting to return to the departure airport after takeoff. The pilot of another airplane who witnessed the takeoff reported that the accident airplane's takeoff appeared "normal." After takeoff, he noticed the accident airplane about 1.5 miles from the departure airport. It appeared to be in a 45 to 60-degree bank turn back towards the airport, below the level of a tree line. The accident airplane subsequently struck the tree line and came to rest in an agricultural field. The post accident inspection did not reveal any anomalies associated with a pre-impact failure of the flight control system. In addition, examination of both engines did not reveal any failures or malfunctions consistent with a loss of engine power prior to the accident. Examination of the left alternator indicated that it was unable to provide the rated electrical power. Examination of the right alternator did not reveal any anomalies, and the unit appeared to be functional. According to an acquaintance of the pilot, the accident airplane was en route to a maintenance facility for a routine annual inspection. He noted that the left alternator appeared to be inoperative prior to the accident flight and that the mechanic had been advised to look at it during the inspection. He knew of no other problems with the airplane prior to the accident flight.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from trees and terrain while attempting to return to the departure airport for undetermined reasons after takeoff. The intervening tree line was a contributing factor.

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