NTSB Identification: LAX96FA042.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 08, 1995 in KNEELAND, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/10/1996
Aircraft: Beech S35, registration: N8920M
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 arrival after nightfall, the pilot was provided vectors for an ILS Runway 32 Approach to Arcata, CA. He was instructed to intercept the localizer at or above 6,000 feet, then he was cleared for the approach. Radar contact with the airplane was lost about 22 miles from the airport. Subsequently, the airplane crashed on mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 2200 feet. During investigation, radar data showed that the airplane was inbound on the ILS approach, slightly left of the localizer centerline. After about 1 minute, it began a uniform left turn of about 30 degrees, followed immediately by an equally uniform right turn. The radius of the right turn began to decrease until the aircraft disappeared from radar after about 270 degrees of turn. The wreckage was found in proximity of the last radar return. No preimpact mechanical failure was noted during examination of the wreckage, although the airplane was destroyed during impact. Another person, who had flown with the pilot as he practiced instrument flight procedures, noted that on occasions, the pilot turned the wrong way; and at times, also gave the impression of having difficulty in maintaining aircraft control.

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

failure of the pilot to correct a descending spiral and perform a missed approach, after becoming spatially disoriented and deviating from the planned ILS approach procedure. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness, and the pilot's excessive maneuvering of the airplane, while on the ILS approach.

Full narrative available

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