NTSB Identification: LAX97FA047.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 20, 1996 in LOST HILLS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-236, registration: N8447B
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.

The aircraft was found with the wings and empennage separated from the fuselage. The separations were approximately symmetrical on the left and right sides of the aircraft, and overload in character. Recorded weather data indicated clouds and light rain near the accident site at the time of the crash. The pilot was not instrument rated and his logbook did not reveal any recent instrument training or experience. The was no record of the pilot obtaining a preflight or in-flight weather briefing.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which led to spatial disorientation and loss of aircraft control, and the pilot exceeding the aircraft's design stress limits during an attempted recovery. The noninstrument-rated pilot's failure to obtain a weather briefing, the weather conditions, and the dark night were factors.

Full narrative available

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