CHI97LA036
CHI97LA036

On December 3, 1996, at 1440 central standard time, a Cessna 177, N30255, sustained substantial damage during an emergency landing in a rough farm field, five miles east of Regan, North Dakota. The pilot told investigators that he was flying VFR on top and decided to descended below the clouds. When he did so, he was unable to maintain VFR and initiated an emergency landing in a rough farm field. The non-instrument rated private pilot and one passenger reported no injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight encountered instrument meteorological conditions at the accident site. No flight plan was on file. The flight departed Harvey, North Dakota, about 1400, with the intended destination of Bismarck, North Dakota.

The pilot said that he called for a weather briefing the morning of the accident. He said the weather was VFR at that time. He then initiated the flight about 1400, but attained no additional weather information, prior to the flight. He said that en route to Bismarck he encountered clouds obscuring the terrain and that he was "on top" at 4,000 feet mean sea level. He said that he called Bismarck, checking for VFR conditions, but found that the airport was reporting instrument meteorological conditions. He said that he then elected to descend through a hole in the clouds. He found that visibility and the ceiling prevented him from maintaining VFR and he conducted an emergency landing in a field which he said was approximately 36 miles northeast of Bismarck.

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