On the morning of the accident, the de Havilland DHC-1 pilot contacted a flight service station for a weather briefing for a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from Wisconsin to Georgia. The briefer told the pilot that VFR flight was not recommended from southern Kentucky through Tennessee and into north Georgia.
He also stated that there was an Airmet for mountain obscuration for the same area until 2 p.m. Toward the conclusion of the briefing, the pilot indicated that he would probably spend the night in Kentucky.
He flew to Indiana, refueled, and departed about noon.
When he did not arrive at his destination, a search was initiated, and the wreckage was found in mountainous terrain in the Cherokee National Forest near Vonore, Tenn. The pilot was killed in the crash.
The aircraft heading at impact was toward the northwest (his destination was to the southeast). Damage to broken trees within the wreckage debris path was indicative of a near-level aircraft attitude at impact.
Although the pilot had extensive experience in the airplane and was an airline pilot with a major air carrier, the plane was not equipped for flight in instrument conditions. No distress calls were received before the accident.
Although no eyewitnesses to the accident were found, one local resident reported that the mountain tops were obscured at the time of the accident.
It is likely the pilot attempted to cross the mountains below the cloud cover and, after he realized that he could not continue in visual conditions, he attempted to exit the weather, and the airplane hit the mountain.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s continued visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.
NTSB Identification: ERA14FA163
This March 2014 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.