NTSB Identification: CHI07LA260.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 10, 2007 in West Bend, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N1696H
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain during night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) about 1/4 mile north of the departure airport. No one witnessed the airplane's departure and there were no witnesses to the accident. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) reported that the first time the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was "picked up" by an overhead satellite was at 0510. The inspection of the accident site indicated that the airplane impacted the cornfield in a nose low, right wing down attitude. The inspection of the airplane and engine revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The non-instrument rated private pilot had logged 0.8 hours of night flight 11 months prior to the accident flight. He had not logged any night flights since. At 0505, the surface weather observation at the departure airport was: Winds 300 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 2 statute miles, overcast 200 feet.

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

The pilot's decision to depart in adverse weather conditions, and his failure to maintain clearance from the terrain. Contributing to the accident included the pilot's lack of an instrument rating, his lack of recent night experience, the night conditions and fog.

Full narrative available

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