NTSB Identification: FTW99FA060.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 1999 in SMACKOVER, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/12/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300R, registration: N7676C
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The instrument-rated private pilot lost control of the airplane while maneuvering in night instrument meteorological conditions. The pilot originally requested a lower altitude in an attempt to make a VFR approach to El Dorado's Downtown Airport (F43). The pilot was unsuccessful so he requested an ILS approach to South Arkansas Regional Airport (ELD). The controller informed the pilot that he had lost radar contact with the airplane and asked the pilot if he could navigate to the outer marker for the approach. The pilot answered in the affirmative and was cleared for the approach. Radar contact with the airplane was lost for about 27 minutes. During this time, witnesses reported hearing an airplane flying very low numerous times over their homes. Subsequently, the controller re-identified the airplane on radar south of F43 climbing through 2,000 feet msl and turning towards the north. Attempts to reestablish radio contact with the pilot were unsuccessful. The last radar returns received indicated the airplane was in a right hand turn at 3,000 feet msl. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any pre-impact mechanical discrepancies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's spatial disorientation resulting in a loss of control of the airplane and the ensuing stall/spin. Factors were the low ceilings and the night condition.

Full narrative available

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