NTSB Identification: DEN07FA053.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 17, 2007 in Waltman, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 182R, registration: N9937H
Injuries: 2 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.

During the night visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight, the airplane encountered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and impacted snow-covered terrain in a wings level attitude. Prior to the flight, the non-instrument rated private pilot did not obtain a weather briefing. According to data recovered from the airplane's portable global positioning system (GPS) receiver, the airplane departed the airport and initially traveled in a southwest direction toward the destination airport. Approximately 5 miles southwest of the departure airport, the airplane executed a left turn to the southeast. The airplane continued in a southeast direction for approximately 1 mile, then made a right turn back to the southwest. Shortly thereafter, the airplane then executed a 180-degree left turn to the northeast back toward the departure airport. Approximately 1 mile south of the departure airport, the airplane made a right turn to the south. The airplane continued south along a state highway for approximately 10 miles, then made a right turn toward the southwest. The airplane then headed in a southwesterly direction and the altitude varied between 6,800 and 7,300 feet mean sea level (msl). The last 15 recorded GPS positions indicated the airplane continued in a west-southwesterly direction; however, the altitude gradually decreased. The last recorded GPS position was located near the initial impact point with terrain. Local authorities reported the weather in the area at the time of the accident included snow, high winds, and reduced visibility. No communications were received from the airplane by any air traffic control facilities during the accident flight. According to a member of the pilot's family, the pilot had been "flying around Wyoming since the early 1980's." No anomalies were noted with the airframe and engine.

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

the pilot's continued visual flight rules (VFR) flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and failure to maintain terrain clearance resulting in controlled flight into terrain. Contributing factors were the pilot's improper preflight and in-flight planning, snow and reduced visibility.

Full narrative available

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