Aircraft: Piper Tri-Pacer Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Verlot, Wash. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot had approximately 1,200 hours, but did not have an instrument rating. The weather was VFR when he took off on the 198-mile flight.
There was no record of him obtaining an official weather briefing. Weather along the intended route of flight varied between VFR and IFR conditions.
Weather satellite imagery from about five minutes before the time of the accident depicted an extensive area of low clouds. An area forecast for the day of the accident included a warning that the mountains would remain mostly obscured during the morning hours.
The Piper crashed and burned in steep terrain about 200 feet below a ridge line at an elevation of about 4,150 feet MSL.
An on-scene examination of the wreckage was not conducted due to terrain conditions and the wreckage was not recovered.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to continue visual flight into clouds and his failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering in an area of reduced visibility, low clouds, and mountain obscuration.
NTSB Identification: WPR11FA319
This July 2011 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.