NTSB Identification: MIA94FA098.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 20, 1994 in SARASOTA, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/24/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N55999
Injuries: 4 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.

During IFR arrival, the flight was cleared for an ILS Runway 32 Approach. The pilot(s) acknowledged the clearance & initiated the approach. Radio transmissions from the airplane became unreadable as the approach was continued. Radar data showed that on final approach, the airplane deviated laterally (S-turned) through the final approach course (as if the pilot was overcorrecting). At about 400' MSL & 1 mile from the runway, the flight deviated to the left & began a non-standard missed approach. An alternate IFR missed approach procedure was issued & the pilot(s) acknowledged by clicking the mike button; however, the alternate missed approach instruction was not followed. Radar data showed the airplane flew a southerly course for about 2-1/2 miles, then it began turning & radar contact was lost. Witnesses saw the airplane descending through fog in a steep, nose down, right bank attitude before disappearing from view. Engine rpm was heard to increase, then the plane crashed in a boat docking area. The left seat pilot had been issued a private pilot certificate based on his German certificate; he held an instrument rating, but did not have a current medical certificate; no record was found of his previous flight time. The right seat pilot held a commercial & ATP certificate (with instrument rating) & was presumed to be the PIC; a review of his log book revealed the last recorded flight in this make & model of airplane was on 3/27/88.

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

Failure of the pilot(s) to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation. Factors related to the accident were: A malfunction that resulted in a loss of normal radio transmission, and the pilot(s) lack of recent experience in this make and model of airplane.

Full narrative available

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