NTSB Identification: ERA09LA124
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 04, 2009 in Indiana, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/21/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-160, registration: N5212W
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 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 pilot and two passengers took off with the intent to fly around the traffic pattern. The automated weather reporting system for the field reported steadily deteriorating conditions from earlier in the day and up to the time of departure, with instrument meteorological conditions prevailing throughout the flight. The pilot was not instrument rated and the airplane was not equipped for instrument flight. The flight continued after twilight into full darkness. The pilot stated that he encountered fog that obscured his view of the runway. After five unsuccessful approaches, the pilot stated that he could see the lights on runway 28, which was mostly behind the airplane. The pilot elected to make one more go around and attempt to land on the runway; the airplane impacted trees 1,200 feet northwest of the runway. The airplane came to rest inverted. The pilot stated that he had no intentions of flying that day due to the weather. He said that he was only to going to refuel the airplane, but one of the passengers convinced him to take the airplane once in the pattern.

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

The pilot's decision to attempt VFR flight in IMC conditions, resulting in a collision with trees during a go-around.

Full narrative available

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