NTSB Identification: CEN12FA196
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Glencoe, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/11/2012
Aircraft: BEECH 35, registration: N3871N
Injuries: 3 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 private pilot was conducting the accident flight under visual flight rules without a flight plan. Witnesses in the area reported hearing the airplane flying from east to west but could not see the airplane due to the low clouds and reduced visibility. Subsequently, the witnesses heard a loud crack and then the impact of the airplane with the ground. Based upon witness statements and reported weather conditions near the accident site, the flight encountered instrument meteorological conditions. The distribution of the wreckage was consistent with an in-flight breakup starting with the separation of the left wing followed by the separation of the empennage. All fracture surfaces were consistent with overload failure. An examination of the remaining systems revealed no anomalies. There was no record of the pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing from a recorded source.

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

The non-instrument-rated pilot’s continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the design limits of the airplane being exceeded and an in-flight breakup.

Full narrative available

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