Here are the details of the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board’s website:
Aircraft: Mooney M20C, Registration N6386Q
Pilot Data: Private name; age 50; 500 total hours flight time; 200 hours flight time in Mooney aircraft; not instrument rated.
Date of crash: 12/26/1972
Location: near McDill Point in Cheaha Wilderness, AL
Departure Point: Longview, TX
Intended Destination: Marietta, GA
Phase of Operation in Flight: Normal Cruise
Type of Accident: Collision with Ground, pilot in control
Probable Cause: Pilot in command, continued VFR flight into adverse weather conditions
Factors: weather-low ceiling; weather-obstructions to vision; weather-high obstruction
Weather Briefing: pilot received weather briefing; method unknown
Weather Forecast: substantially correct
Missing Aircraft: Recovered later. Fire after impact. Aircraft recovered 12/28/72 about 100 feet below mountain ridge.
Summary for those not versed in flight terminology: A 50 year old man took off from Longview, TX on Dec. 26, 1972 flight bound for Marietta, GA. He only had 200 hours flight time in a Mooney aircraft. He was not instrument rated, which means that he is not certified to fly at night or in bad weather, i.e. anytime he cannot see out the windows and must rely only on his instruments to fly. He continued his flight even though he knew of adverse weather conditions. Somewhere over AL, he was having difficulty seeing, probably due to cloud cover. He dropped too low while flying and impacted the high point of a ridge in between the cities of Ashland and Oxford in AL. He died.