NTSB Identification: NYC96FA126.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 14, 1996 in CORTLAND, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-150, registration: N2189P
Injuries: 3 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 pilot departed the airport in weather described by witnesses as about 100 feet visibility in fog. During the takeoff climb, the airplane turned left prior to the end of the runway, and while in a 30-degree left bank it struck trees north of the airport. Both wings separated from the fuselage and there was a postcrash fire. The left propeller was sheared from the engine by torsional twisting. The right propeller blades had 'S' curves damage. Witnesses reported that the engines sounded smooth. Examination of the airplane did not reveal evidence of mechanical malfunction. The published departure procedure requires a climb on runway heading until reaching 2600 feet. The pilot was changing residence and she was required to vacate her current dwelling on the day of the accident. According to the previous owner, the instrument panel was arranged in a non-T layout. The pilot had received her multi-engine instrument rating in an airplane with a T arrangement on the instrument panel 10 months prior to the accident. The pilot's recent instrument flight experience was not determined.

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

the pilot failure to maintain directional control of the airplane which resulted in the airplane striking trees. Contributing factors were the pilot's spatial disorientation, dark night conditions, fog, and the pilot's self induced pressure to reach the destination.

Full narrative available

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