NTSB Identification: NYC08FA056
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2007 in Warrenton, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2008
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N5481D
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 pilot was conducting a GPS approach to his home airport, during night, instrument meteorological conditions. The airplane was established on the inbound course, when it crossed the final approach fix at the required crossing altitude (2,200 feet). The airplane then continued a gradual descent until it impacted trees about 4 miles from the airport, on the same heading as the inbound course for the approach. Examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies. The pilot had accumulated 683 hours of total flight experience, 67 of which were in actual instrument conditions. The pilot completed his most recent instrument proficiency check (IPC) 5 months prior to the accident, during which he performed four instrument approaches in a simulator (none of which included instrument approaches to the destination airport, which was also his home airport). After the IPC, the pilot accumulated 8.4 hours of actual instrument flight time; however, he did not log any instrument approaches. At the time of the accident, weather included overcast clouds at 300 feet, 1 mile visibility, temperature 6 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 6 degrees C. An employee of the fixed base operator at the airport stated that no other aircraft came into the airport on the day of the accident, as it was "very foggy" all day.

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

The pilot's failure to follow the published instrument approach procedure and his failure to maintain the minimum descent altitude which resulted in collision with trees and terrain. Contributing to the accident were the night, instrument meteorological conditions.

Full narrative available

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