On July 2, 1996, at about 1215 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 170B, N8099A, crashed into a hay field when the pilot made a precautionary landing in an attempt to avoid a severe thunderstorm near Beckley, West Virginia. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. The third passenger, the pilot's wife, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of takeoff, and no flight plan was filed. The personal flight originated in Brookville Airpark, (I62) Brookville, Ohio at 0645. The pilot stopped at Gallipolis, Ohio (GAS), at about 0800, and remained there for about 3 hours due to weather. At about 1100 they took off en route to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina (FFA). The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that he got a weather briefing from the local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Service Station (FSS) and flew south to avoid some weather. When they got to the Beckley, West Virginia area the weather had deteriorated with heavy rain and the pilot decided to land at the Beckley airport which was just east of their position. The pilot stated that because of the rain and poor visibility and low ceiling he could not get to the airport. He said he spotted a hay field and made 3 or 4 approaches into it followed by an "emergency landing". He said the terrain was rolling hills and trees with some electrical towers. He said that at the time the hay field looked like a good place to set the aircraft down.


Examination of the aircraft found that it had struck a tree with the left wing prior to touching down in the field. The aircraft's left wing and nose impacted the ground separating the engine from the airframe.

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