VFR into IMC fatal for two

This May 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Piper Seneca Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Lincoln, Mont. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The airplane was one of a flight of 12 participating in a guided air tour. The instrument-rated pilot was attempting a VFR cross-country flight over mountainous terrain. Approximately 20 minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported that he was encountering clouds at 8,500 feet and had received a low-altitude alert.

Minutes later there was an indistinct radio transmission believed to be the accident pilot; the transmission was followed by a radio transmission believed to be the passenger of the accident airplane who stated they had a problem and the airplane had hit trees. The wreckage was located in steep, tree-covered terrain at an elevation of 6,780 feet MSL.

Probable cause:The pilot’s decision to continue flight into an area of low ceilings and low visibility and his failure to maintain sufficient clearance from mountainous terrain.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR10FA273



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