NTSB Identification: LAX94FA217.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, May 12, 1994 in VENTURA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/21/1995
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration: N231WD
Injuries: 2 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 PILOTS DEPARTED ON AN IFR FLIGHT WITH CLEARANCE TO CLIMB TO VFR CONDITIONS ON TOP. THE TOPS OF THE CLOUDS WERE REPORTED AT 2500 FEET. THE PERSON IN THE RIGHT FRONT SEAT HELD AN INSTRUMENT RATING AND WAS PRESUMED TO BE THE FIRST PILOT (PIC). THE PERSON IN THE LEFT FRONT SEAT WAS ALSO A PILOT, BUT DID NOT POSSESS AN INSTRUMENT RATING. THE AIRPLANE WAS EQUIPPED WITH A SINGLE SET OF FLIGHT INSTRUMENTS IN FRONT OF THE LEFT SEAT. ACCORDING TO RECORDED RADAR DATA, THE AIRPLANE DID NOT REACH AN ALTITUDE WHERE VFR CONDITIONS WERE REPORTED. AT ABOUT 2300 TO 2400 FEET MSL, THE AIRPLANE ENTERED A DESCENT, THEN RADAR CONTACT WAS LOST. WITNESSES HEARD AND SAW THE AIRPLANE IN A STEEP DIVE AS IT DESCENDED BELOW THE ESTIMATED 500-FOOT OVERCAST. NO PREIMPACT MECHANICAL FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE AIRPLANE WAS FOUND.

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

FAILURE OF THE FLIGHT CREW TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE IN INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION. A FACTOR RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE FIRST PILOT'S OVERCONFIDENCE IN HIS ABILITY TO ASSURE CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE FROM THE RIGHT SEAT BY REFERENCE TO THE INSTRUMENTS LOCATED IN FRONT OF THE LEFT SEAT.

Full narrative available

Index for May1994 | Index of months