Aircraft: Piper Cherokee Six. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: Fredericktown, Mo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot, 61, did not possess an instrument rating. He was last issued a medical certificate dated Sept. 27, 2007. At that time, he reported his total flight time as 2,900 hours. At the time of the accident, his last medical certificate had expired.
He had disqualifying heart disease that had not been reported to or evaluated by the FAA.
The pilot’s recent flight experience and the airplane’s maintenance history could not be determined due to the unavailability of current logbooks.
The weather at the time of the accident was deteriorating from VFR to IFR. The airplane was reported missing and GPS data showed that it descended below 1,700 feet MSL 11 nautical miles south-southwest of the accident site. The airplane crashed in rising terrain at an elevation of about 1,353 feet MSL while on a north-northeasterly heading. The airplane configuration and the wreckage path were consistent with an impact while the airplane was in cruise flight.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to attempt to maintain visual flight by descending below an area of deteriorating forecast weather to an altitude that did not provide adequate terrain clearance.
NTSB Identification: CEN11FA263
This March 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.