NTSB Identification: MIA99GA064.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 06, 1999 in HOMESTEAD, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2000
Aircraft: Cessna U206G, registration: N756XQ
Injuries: 1 Serious.

: 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 public aircraft accident report.

The accident pilot received mission briefings for 2 planned training exercises; he was scheduled to fly a U.S. Customs Service (USCS) aircraft, acting as a target. There was no mention of any floor during the mission briefings and USCS did not have regulations that indicated the lowest floor to be flown during a training exercise. The first flight was uneventful lasting 1 hour 15 minutes. The second flight was flown using the same airplane. While returning to the departure airport flying over Biscayne Bay on a dark night, the airplane was flown into the water. No warning to the accident pilot was made before water impact by the flight crews and Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center facility tracking the airplane. The airplane was recovered and examination of the flight controls, engine, engine systems, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, pilot's restraint, or pitot static system revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The position lights were not illuminated at the time of the accident contrary to USCS procedures. A life raft that was dropped by a hovering USCS helicopter began inflating while descending but the inflation bottle separated after impact with the water before complete inflation of the raft.

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

The intentional low altitude flight/maneuver by the pilot-in-command and his disregard of the altitude clearance with terrain resulting in the inflight collision with water during the dark night. Contributing to the accident was the lack of U.S. Customs procedures regarding the establishing of floors during training exercises at night. Findings in the accident were the pilot's intentional operation of the airplane at night during a training flight without operating the position lights contrary to U.S. Customs Service procedures, and the failure of the flightcrews tracking the airplane to notify the pilot before impact with the water.

Full narrative available

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