NTSB Identification: DEN07FA054.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 17, 2007 in Centennial, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N43630
Injuries: 3 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 was the subject of an alert notification. The accident site was located in forested, mountainous terrain at an elevation 10,710 feet msl. Sunset was recorded at 1700 and the end of civil twilight was recorded at 1730. The moon rose at 0639 and set at 1516 on the day of the accident. Doppler weather radar depicted an area of light snow showers along the route of flight, near the wreckage location. An AIRMET for mountain obscuration was issued along the route of flight. According to the pilot's flight records, he had logged 3 hours of night flight experience, over a year prior to the accident. An examination of the airframe, airplane's systems, and power plant revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal and correct operation prior to impact.

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

the pilot's inadvertent flight into adverse weather conditions resulting in a loss of aircraft control. Contributing factors include the pilot's improper preflight planning and decision making, the pilot's spatial disorientation, the pilot's lack of night currency, the dark night, and the snow, low clouds, and low visibility.

Full narrative available

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