NTSB Identification: CEN11FA079
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 21, 2010 in Norfolk, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/11/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N8675P
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 non-instrument rated pilot and passenger departed on a night cross-country flight. When the airplane did not show up at its destination, a search was initiated. The following evening, the airplane wreckage was located in an open field. A local resident near the accident site reported that she saw an airplane flying really low, at night. She added, that at the time she saw the airplane, the weather was misty and cold. Around the time the witness saw the airplane, the automated weather reporting station, located about 12.5 miles from the accident site, reported a cloud ceiling at 700 feet mean sea level. The airplane collided with the top of a tree, located along a tree line that crossed the airplane's flight path. A postaccident examination did not disclose any evidence of a pre-impact mechanical malfunction. The accident information is consistent with a non-instrument rated pilot trying to fly beneath the clouds at low altitude, at night, in marginal weather conditions. Due to the night and instrument meteorological conditions the pilot most likely would not have been able to see and avoid the tree; the impact and subsequent ground collision were consistent with a controlled flight into terrain event.

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

The pilot’s decision to continue the flight into instrumental meteorological conditions which resulted in a collision with a tree.

Full narrative available

Index for Nov2010 | Index of months