NTSB Identification: ERA09LA123
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 03, 2009 in Powder Springs, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-151, registration: N43631
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

After departing the traffic pattern and turning toward mountainous terrain, the airplane entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The pilot had some training for his instrument rating but did not yet possess one. A witness who resided near the accident location heard the airplane traveling in a northerly direction and impact terrain. He reported that, the "weather was overcast," and he could not see the tops of the mountains. He estimated that the cloud base at the time was about 100 to 200 feet below the tops of the mountains. Review of a weather briefing which was obtained by the pilot revealed that he was advised that flight under visual flight rules was not recommended due to low ceilings and visibility along the route of flight and that the pilot had declined to file a flight plan. Additionally, no evidence was discovered that indicated the pilot had attempted to receive updated weather information prior to the accident flight, or that he had contact with air traffic control. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact malfunctions or failures.

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

The non-instrument rated pilot's decision to continue under visual flight rules into an area of instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain.

Full narrative available

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