NTSB Identification: MIA97FA034.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, December 06, 1996 in POPLARVILLE, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Beech D-45, registration: N99065
Injuries: 2 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.

Flight clearance was granted by the club manager (non-pilot) who was allowed by flying club regulations to do so and who had no formal training. The ETA was after the end of twilight. The pilot was not instrument rated and the attitude indicator and directional gyro instruments were inoperative; which he knew about. Flying club regulations requiring an instrument rating for night cross-country flights was previously eliminated. Regulations required IFR equipped aircraft for night cross-country flights. About 32 minutes after the end of nautical twilight while flying over an unlit sparsely populated area, the pilot experienced spatial disorientation. Radar data indicates a right descending turn. Examination of the wreckage indicates overload failure of the right wing, both horizontal stabilizers, and the vertical stabilizer. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The rear seat generator failure bulb was illuminated at impact. A discrepancy of the generator was noted but witnesses observed lights from the airplane before impact and the transponder was also operating before impact.

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

the noninstrument-rated pilot's intentional operation of the airplane with known deficiencies in equipment (inoperative attitude indicator and directional gyro) with an estimated time of arrival after official twilight. Also, poor in-flight planning decision by the pilot for continuing the flight after encountering dark night conditions resulting in spatial disorientation and a loss of control. Contributing to the accident were: the insufficient standards/requirements of the operator for allowing the airplane to be flown by a noninstrument-rated pilot with inoperative attitude instruments with an estimated time of arrival after official twilight, the dark night and an inoperative attitude indicator.

Full narrative available

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