NTSB Identification: FTW94FA065.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, January 16, 1994 in RATCLIFF, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N6522P
Injuries: 3 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.

BEFORE DEPARTING ON A FLIGHT FROM GALVESTON TO TYLER,TEXAS, THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT WAS ADVISED THAT VFR FLIGHT WAS NOT RECOMMENDED. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AIRPLANE CRASHED ALONG THE ROUTE NEAR RATCLIFF, TEXAS. WITNESSES INDICATED THAT BEFORE THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED, THE AIRCRAFT WAS MANEUVERING IN THE AREA. ACCORDING TO THEM, THERE WAS AN INTERUPTION IN THE SOUND OF THE ENGINE, THEN IT REVVED TO A HIGH POWER SETTING AS THE AIRCRAFT WENT INTO A DIVE & CRASHED. AN EXAM OF THE WRECKAGE REVEALED THAT AN IN-FLIGHT BREAKUP OF THE AIRCRAFT OCCURRED. BOTH HORIZONTAL STABILATORS & THE OUTBOARD SECTION OF THE RIGHT WING HAD FAILED. THEY WERE FOUND ABOUT 400 FEET SHORT OF WHERE THE MAIN WRECKAGE HAD IMPACTED. ABOUT 28 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST AT LUFKIN, THE WEATHER WAS IN PART: 1200' BROKEN, 4 MILES VISIBILITY WITH HAZE, FOG & DRIZZLE. ONE WITNESS ESTIMATED THE AIRPLANE WAS FLYING AT ABOUT 1000' AGL WHEN HE FIRST SAW IT. THE INVESTIGATION DID NOT VERIFY WHETHER THE AIRPLANE WAS MANEUVERING ABOVE OR BELOW THE BASE OF THE CLOUDS BEFORE IT BROKE UP.

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

THE PILOT FAILED TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE AND ALLOWED IT TO EXCEED ITS DESIGN STRESS LIMITS, WHICH RESULTED IN OVERLOAD FAILURE OF THE STABILATORS AND RIGHT OUTBOARD WING SECTION.

Full narrative available

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