NTSB Identification: CEN14FA019
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 21, 2013 in Talihina, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N113WS
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 did not obtain a formal weather briefing before the accident flight nor any flight following or air traffic control services while en route. Radar data indicated that the airplane was traveling toward the destination airport and that radar contact was lost about 29 miles from the accident site. Radar contact was likely lost due to the low altitude at which the airplane was flying. Four witnesses located along the route of flight observed the airplane flying at low altitude and in and out of instrument flight conditions. Two witnesses stated that heavy rain showers existed in the area at the time that they observed the airplane.
Family members reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that the airplane was overdue, and the airplane was subsequently located in a densely wooded area. Tree strikes were found at the accident site consistent with the airplane contacting the trees in a straight-and-level attitude. All of the airplane’s major components were accounted for at the accident site. No preimpact airframe or engine anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operation. A review of weather data for the time and area surrounding the accident revealed low visibility with moderate to heavy rain. The pilot likely flew the airplane at low altitude to maintain visual flight and subsequently flew into an area of known rain with reduced visibility, which resulted in his inability to see and maintain clearance from trees.

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

The pilot’s lack of weather planning and his continued flight into an area of known rain with reduced visibility and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance with trees.

Full narrative available

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