NTSB Identification: MIA97FA013.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 26, 1996 in ST. CROIX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N9818L
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 purpose of the flight was to take CAP cadets on an orientation flight around the local area, and return to the airport. Witnesses observed the airplane taxi to runway 9, proceed onto the runway without performing a run-up, and take off. The captain of a regional airline, which departed after the Cessna, said the Cessna climbed to an altitude of about 900 feet then turned sharply to the left, followed by a sharp turn to the right. The captain said the airplane went into a 'steep' right spiral, and impacted the ground with no forward movement. In addition, the captain said that the wind was down the runway, it was a clear day, and it was not unusually turbulent. Most of the witnesses that saw the accident gave similar accounts.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed.

Full narrative available

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