Apr. 12, Stiefler Corner, Pa. / American AA-5 Tiger


About 11:10 EDT, an American AA-5 struck a tree after an inadvertent encounter with IMC. The two occupants were not injured. The pilot and his son were returning from Florida to New York and had stopped for the night in Staunton, Va., due to widespread IFR conditions. The pilot was instrument rated and the airplane was legal for IFR flight, but the pilot said that he had not planned on conducting IFR operations on this trip, and because of his limited IFR experience, he would only conduct VFR operations. He encountered turbulence along the route as he tried to stay VFR in a valley where the mountain tops on each side were obscured by clouds. The airplane entered the clouds and the severity of the turbulence increased, so the pilot began a climbing turn to head south again. During the turn he hit a pine tree about 6 feet below its top. About 5 minutes later, the pilot regained VMC, and landed the airplane at Bedford, Pa., without further incident.


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