This April 2007 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 Cherokee.
Location: New Tazewell, Tenn.
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot obtained a weather briefing, but the details of the briefing could not be determined because the recording equipment had malfunctioned. The pilot had logged about 200 hours, but was not instrument rated. IMC prevailed at the time of the accident because of low clouds. No flight plan was on file.
According to witnesses, the airplane was climbing and descending in and out of the clouds. One witness told investigators that he saw the Cherokee come out of the clouds and roll 90° to the right, then crash in the forest.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control.