NTSB Identification: NYC08FA180
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 12, 2008 in Cruso, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N64FP
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.

The non-instrument-rated private pilot departed in the early morning hours, before daylight, on a cross-country flight. There was no record of the pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing from either a Flight Service Station or a computer service. About 30 minutes into the flight, the airplane changed its heading twice with accompanying rapid changes in altitude. Shortly thereafter the airplane began a rapid descent and collided with steep mountainous terrain. According to radar analysis of the flight conducted by a Safety Board meteorology specialist, the first-half of the flight took place under visual meteorological conditions; however, during the remainder of the flight the airplane most likely entered both a wave cloud and a layer of broken-overcast clouds that bordered the flight path. Strong northwesterly winds normal to mountain ridges existed in the general area at the time of the accident. These winds would have caused the airplane to experience moderate to severe turbulence, and strong downdrafts due to either mechanical turbulence or mountain waves in the location where the final rapid descent occurred. There was no evidence of premishap mechanical malfunction or failure observed during the examination of the engine or airframe.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions with moderate to severe turbulence prevailing. Contributing to the accident were the instrument meteorological conditions and turbulence.

Full narrative available

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