NTSB Identification: CHI96FA094.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 18, 1996 in ODELL, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/01/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 182, registration: N3243Y
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.

During a preflight weather briefing for a cross-country flight at night, the noninstrument-rated pilot was advised by the briefer that 'VFR flight not recommended,' but the pilot elected to proceed on the flight. There was evidence that during the flight, he encountered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Low visibility and snow showers were reported in the vicinity of the accident site. Subsequently, the airplane crashed. Crush areas on the fuselage indicated the airplane was in about a 30 degree left bank, nose low attitude, during impact. The main wreckage came to rest about 150 yards from the initial impact point. There were no known witnesses to the accident; the wreckage was discovered the next morning by a local resident. No preimpact mechanical malfunction of the aircraft or engine was found during examination of the wreckage. During a pathological examination, the medical examiner noted that 'an area of the (pilot's) heart was hyperemic, grossly, and showed ischemic change with coagulation necrosis by microscopic study.' However, there was no verification that the pilot had experienced a heart attack.

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

VFR flight by the pilot into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and subsequent loss of aircraft control, probably due to spatial disorientation of the pilot. Factors relating to the accident were: darkness, reduced visibility due to the weather condition (snow), and the pilot's lack of instrument experience.

Full narrative available

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