According to the pilot’s wife, he departed on a cross-country flight in a Focke-Wulf FWP 149D to attend a friend’s funeral.
He told her he intended to stop to buy fuel at an airport 20 miles from the departure airport.
Although the pilot indicated to her the night before the accident that he was concerned about a cold front that was moving in, it could not be determined whether he consulted any weather resources before the flight, and there was no record that he obtained an official preflight weather briefing.
He departed without filing an instrument flight rules flight plan for the flight; instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time of departure.
A witness at the departure airport reported that he observed an airplane taxiing and heard it depart and that the weather at the time was very foggy.
A review of air traffic control radar data showed the airplane one mile north of the departure airport tracking northwest toward the intended fuel stop destination, and the last radar target was eight miles northwest of the departure airport.
The airplane’s wreckage was located in a wooded area resting nose-down at the base of a tree 1/2 mile from the destination airport in Kenansville, N.C. The pilot died in the accident.
The reported weather conditions at both airports about the time of the accident included low ceilings and low visibility; fog was reported at the destination airport, and the departure airport had been reporting overcast ceilings at 200 feet above ground level for several hours before the flight departed.
It is likely that the pilot placed pressure upon himself to make the flight because he was going to attend his friend’s funeral.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s loss of control in instrument meteorological conditions for reasons that could not be determined. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s self-induced pressure to make the flight.
NTSB Identification: ERA14FA044
This November 2013 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.