Jan. 15, Falmouth, Mass. / Piper Tri-Pacer


At 19:45 eastern time, a Piper PA-22-108 was last observed in the vicinity of Falmouth. The airplane has not been located and the pilot is presumed dead. The pilot contacted controllers at Norwood Mass., at about 16:00, asking for a special VFR departure clearance to the southwest. The controller observed what appeared to be up to 2 inches of slush and snow on the airplanes wings and control surfaces as well as ceilings of 400 feet and denied the clearance. The pilot departed runway 17 without a clearance and turned southwest along Interstate 95. The pilot reported clear of the airports class Delta airspace within five minutes. Over the next several hours, several witnesses saw the airplane flying at treetop level. Weather stations along the route of flight reported poor visibility and ceilings of 300-400 feet broken and 500 feet overcast. The pilot was instrument rated and reported 15,000 hours on his most recent medical certificate, which was issued on December 20.


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