NTSB Identification: LAX96FA086.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 30, 1995 in DELANO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/03/1996
Aircraft: Beech V35B, registration: N7337R
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, the Beech V35B pilot was cleared for a VOR runway 32 approach. At about the time he was beginning the final approach, the pilot commented that he was experiencing some disorientation. A vector was provided to correct back to course, and the pilot continued the approach. While in a circling maneuver at the conclusion of the approach, the airplane was observed to be flying in the base of clouds. A witness reported that the airplane pitched up abruptly into the clouds, and then it appeared out of the clouds in a steep dive that continued until impact. The weather was estimated near minimums for the approach. After purchasing the Beech V35B, the pilot had completed a 15 hour high performance (VFR) checkout on 10/26/95. His instructor recommended that after getting additional experience in the Beech V35B, he get an instrument checkout in the high performance airplane; instead, he took an instrument proficience check in a Piper PA-28.

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

Failure of the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft during an IFR circling approach. A factor relating to the accident was: the pilot's lack of instrument flight experience in high performance aircraft.

Full narrative available

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