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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: MIA01LA217
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2001 in Summerfield, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N69120
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated he was on a cross-country flight in preparation for a checkride that was scheduled for August 20, 2001. The first leg from Kissimmee to Brooksville was uneventful. The flight departed for the second leg and while en route, the cloud base decreased, resulting in his flying at a lower altitude. The flight continued and when it was near the destination, the weather became increasingly worse. The flight encountered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and he elected to continue flying in IMC due to a thunderstorm that was behind the airplane. He then elected to turn to get out of the IMC conditions but momentarily lost control of the airplane. He recovered from the loss of control and descended to just above the treetops, then elected to get on top of the cloud layer and climbed into IMC conditions. He again descended and reversed course to back track. He was unable to locate landmarks and obtain assistance from air traffic control to his "Pan" calls on 121.5. With a thunderstorm moving from west to east he elected to land in a field and flew downwind, base, and final leg. He landed the airplane in the field but during the landing roll, the airplane collided with a fence collapsing the nose landing gear. He secured the airplane and waited for further assistance. According to the Operations Manager for the operator, examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane touched down in a first field then rolled approximately 1,000 feet before colliding with the barbed wire fence. During recovery of the airplane from the field, each fuel tank had 5+ gallons of fuel; the left wing fuel tank had slightly less fuel when recovered.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The poor in-flight planning decision by the student pilot for his failure to turn around to avoid low ceilings resulting in a precautionary landing in a field. A contributing factor in the accident was the pilot's lack of total experience. A finding in the investigation was the pilot's intentional flight into instrument meteorologiocal conditions (IMC) on 2 separate occasions.