NTSB Identification: LAX97FA046.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 20, 1996 in GOLETA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/1998
Aircraft: Beech 95-B55, registration: N210WW
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.

During IFR arrival, the pilot was cleared for an ILS runway 7 approach after being vectored to intercept the localizer from the south side. Last assigned altitude was 2000' msl. Radar data showed the aircraft (acft) continued across the localizer toward rising terrain. Air traffic controllers (ATC) issued instructions to turn back to the localizer, but the pilot did not follow. ATC then issued urgent instructions to turn & climb. (Later, they said he calmly acknowledged their transmissions, but continued toward rising terrain.) Radar contact was lost, but the airplane finally turned south. However, it hit avacado trees on the west side of sloping terrain at about 440' msl, while in a steep bank. No preimpact mechanical anomaly was found that would have resulted in the accident. The pilot's former wife recalled instances when he had miss-set the autopilot OBS; on those occasions, he had similarly deviated from the localizer at intercept & resisted her suggestion to take over manually & fly the approach, but persisted in trying to make the autopilot fly the approach. A flight instructor, who administered a biennial flight review 1 month earlier, found the pilot's instrument flight skills weak & refused to certify his instrument competency. Toxicology tests of tissue from the pilot indicated the presence of a narcotic pain reliever and its metabolite. Tests of kidney tissue showed 0.337 mcg/ml Propoxyphene & 2.7 mcg/ml Norpropoxyphene; tests of muscle tissue showed 0.385 mcg/ml Propoxyphene and 1.9 mcg/ml Norpropoxyphene.

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 instrument approach, due to spatial disorientation, and/or his failure to maintain proper altitude. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's delay (or failure) to initiate a missed approach, and his lack of instrument competency.

Full narrative available

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