NTSB Identification: NYC07LA201.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 23, 2007 in Markham, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Sukhoi SU-31, registration: N131BW
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 non-instrument-rated pilot reported that he obtained a weather briefing via computer, and departed on a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight. The pilot further stated that approximately 30 minutes after departure, he became disoriented as to his location and altitude, while looking for the source of a fuel leak and searching for a suitable landing area. Witnesses near the accident site reported low ceilings and heavy fog. In addition, weather recorded near the accident site, about the time of the accident, included an overcast ceiling at 1,200 feet and 7 miles visibility. The wreckage was consumed by fire, and a wreckage examination could not be performed, nor a fuel leak identified.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Contributing to the accident were a fuel leak as reported by the pilot, the pilot's diverted attention, a low cloud ceiling, and fog.

Full narrative available

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