On November 7, 2001, approximately 2000 central standard time, a Taylorcraft F19, N20002, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during cruise flight when it struck a tree and subsequently impacted into a wooded area 9 miles west of Backus, Minnesota. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot sustained serious injuries in the crash. The pilot reported that the cross-country flight originated at Park Rapids, Minnesota, approximately 1845, and was en route to Pine River, Minnesota.

In his written statement, the pilot said he did not obtain a weather briefing, but did check the AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System) before departing Park Rapids. He said that the weather was visibility 5 miles and ceiling 1,200 feet. The pilot said, "Encountered clouds/fog enroute, became disoriented, descended into trees."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane at the accident scene. The accident site was located 16 miles southwest of the departure airport. The airplane was located approximately 300 feet south of Minnesota State Highway 87. The airplane's right wing was found approximately 30 feet up in a tree 120 feet southwest of the airplane main wreckage. Debris from the airplane and broken tree branches were scattered along a 035 degree magnetic heading between the tree and the airplane main wreckage. The airplane main wreckage was found resting on its right side cabin with its fuselage and empennage resting against some small trees at the edge of a swampy area. The engine and cowling were bent upward and to the right. The airplane's left wing was intact and showed little damage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were bent and broken aft. The propeller showed small nicks and aft bending. Flight control continuity was confirmed. An examination of the engine and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

At 1954, the aviation routine weather report (METAR) for Park Rapids, Minnesota, 16 miles northwest of the accident site, was few clouds at 500 feet, ceilings of 900 feet broken and 2,400 feet overcast, 8 statute miles visibility, temperature 41 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 39 degrees F, winds 320 degrees at 19 knots with gusts to 22 knots, and altimeter 30.08 inches of Mercury.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with single engine land rating.

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