NTSB Identification: WPR10FA273
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 30, 2010 in Lincoln, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-34-220T, registration: N44MC
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 instrument-rated pilot was on a visual-flight-rules cross-country flight over mountainous terrain in instrument meteorological conditions. The airplane was one of a flight of twelve participating in a guided air tour. Approximately 20 minutes after takeoff, the pilot of the accident airplane reported that he was encountering clouds at 8,500 feet and had received a global-positioning-system low-altitude alert. Minutes later there was an indistinct radio transmission believed to be the accident pilot; the transmission was followed by a radio transmission believed to be the passenger of the accident airplane who stated they had a problem and the airplane had hit trees. Scattered to broken cloud layers existed between 7,000 to 7,500 feet, with rain and mountain obscuration in the area of the accident. The wreckage was located in steep tree-covered terrain at 6,780 feet. Multiple trees with fresh slash marks were noted in the area of the wreckage. Postaccident examination of the aircraft wreckage showed no evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure.

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

The pilot’s decision to continue flight into an area of low ceilings and low visibility and his failure to maintain sufficient clearance from mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

Index for May2010 | Index of months