NTSB Identification: WPR11FA047
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 14, 2010 in Enterprise, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2014
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N747MT
Injuries: 1 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 noninstrumented pilot was conducting a personal cross-country flight. Family members reported the airplane overdue, and it was located the next day in rough, mountainous terrain near the last radar target that matched the airplane’s likely flightpath. The airplane initially impacted trees and then fragmented along the 80-yard-long wreckage distribution path.
Instrument to marginal visual flight rules (VFR) conditions due to low ceilings prevailed around the accident site about the time of the accident. A tribal police officer who was patrolling in the area where the wreckage was located about the time of the accident reported that the weather conditions were windy, rainy, and foggy. The closest weather reporting station to the accident site reported a ceiling overcast about 400 feet above ground level. A series of airmen’s meteorological informations were current for the region for instrument flight rules and mountain obscuration conditions. No evidence was found indicating that the pilot received any weather briefings before or during the accident flight; if a briefing from a flight service station had occurred, it likely would not have recommended VFR flight in the area. Data extracted from a handheld GPS onboard the accident airplane revealed that the airplane’s flight track included numerous course changes, circles, and altitude changes consistent with a pilot attempting to maintain visual flight in marginal or instrument conditions.
The pilot’s toxicology report identified more than one benzodiazepine, including diazepam and nordiazepam, in the blood and liver; however, the levels were low. Therefore, the pilot was likely not impaired from the medication at the time of the accident.

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

The noninstrumented pilot’s inadequate weather planning, which resulted in his failure to maintain visual flight while maneuvering under low ceilings in rainy and foggy conditions and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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