NTSB Identification: WPR11FA395
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 21, 2011 in Brookings, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2014
Aircraft: MAULE M-7-235C, registration: N199BF
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 pilot was flying the newly purchased airplane on a cross-country flight under visual flight rules (VFR); the pilot had not filed a VFR flight plan. As he neared his intermediate destination airport, the pilot obtained an in-flight weather briefing, which indicated that airmen’s meteorological information (AIRMET) Sierra for instrument meteorological conditions was active and included the arrival airport and surrounding area. The AIRMET reported ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibility below 3 statute miles in broken conditions. The destination airport, located about 1 mile south of the accident site, reported visibility less than 1/4 statute mile, fog, and ceiling overcast at 200 feet. The pilot had not filed an instrument flight rules flight plan. It is likely that the pilot’s visibility was obscured by clouds and that he did not realize how low he was flying while on approach to the airport.
One witness reported seeing and hearing the airplane circling overhead while it was on approach to the airport and then hearing impact sounds. One witness reported seeing the airplane descend out of the cloud base, which he estimated was about 170 feet above the surface. He observed the airplane bank right, strike a tree, cartwheel, strike another tree, and then hit the ground. Another witness stated that she saw the airplane strike a tree and that, at the time, there was “a little fog.” A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot’s improper decision to continue flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a collision with trees while on approach for landing.

Full narrative available

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