NTSB Identification: ERA10CA436
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 19, 2010 in Bedford, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/11/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 414, registration: N77RL
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that he departed on an instrument flight and estimated that the visibility was over one-half mile. During the initial climb, about 1 to 2 miles from the runway, the airplane collided with trees while in instrumental meteorological conditions (IMC). The airplane continued to climb and shortly thereafter, departed IMC. The pilot noted the damage to both wings’ leading edges and observed fuel leaking. He advised air traffic control of his situation and declared an emergency. During the approach to a nearby airport, he attempted to lower the landing gear and received an unsafe nose gear indication which would not extend. The pilot landed on the main landing gear and delayed lowering the nose for as long as possible, until the propeller came in contact with the surface. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed damage to the empennage in addition to the damage incurred during the collision with trees.

A witness at the departing airport stated that ground visibility was poor during the time of the accident. The closest weather observation, located about 16 miles from the airport, recorded calm wind, visibility at ¾ status miles, 100 feet vertical visibility, and fog near the time of departure. The published takeoff minimums and (obstacle) departure procedures for the departing airport stated the minimum climb gradient was 300 feet per nautical mile. The pilot reported no discrepancies with the airplane prior to the accident flight.

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

The pilot's failure to establish a proper climb gradient during a departure in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a collision with trees.

Full narrative available

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