NTSB Identification: FTW97FA039.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 12, 1996 in COLORADO CITY, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N5116N
Injuries: 1 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.

A witness reported that he heard the sound of a low flying aircraft proceeding in a northwest direction; however, he could not see the aircraft because of the low cloud cover. He said 'The engine appeared to be a little loud . . . and that he '. . . did not hear the engine make a definite miss, or cut out.' He observed the airplane descend from the overcast skies in a left turn and nose low attitude, then the airplane impacted the ground. Ceilings in the area were estimated between 300 and 900 feet AGL. The pilot had delayed his flight departure due to foggy weather conditions. He had not logged any instrument flight time from 7/2/86 to the last entry in his pilot flight log, which was for 10/17/96. Also, the pilot's wife reported that her husband had not flown instruments in a long time. Flight control continuity and integrity were verified, and an examination of the engine revealed no preimpact discrepancies.

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

the pilot's encounter with instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and his subsequent loss of aircraft control, due to spatial disorientation. Factors relating to the accident were: the clouds, low ceilings, and the pilot's lack of recent instrument experience.

Full narrative available

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