NTSB Identification: FTW97FA103.
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Accident occurred Friday, February 14, 1997 in FARMINGTON, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N6433P
Injuries: 5 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 the initial climb after a night takeoff, the airplane was observed to stall, enter a spin, and impact the ground in a nose down attitude. Examination of the airplane and engine revealed no preimpact mechanical discrepancies. Although five persons were aboard the 4-seat airplane, an estimate of the airplane's weight and balance at the time of the accident placed it within allowable limits. The commercial/instrument rated pilot had accumulated 201 hours in this make and model airplane. Bright night visual meteorological conditions prevailed with clear skies, visibility 15 miles, and the moon 29 degrees above the horizon and 59% illuminated. An autopsy of the 22 year old pilot was performed, and microscopy of the heart revealed 70% narrowing of the atrioventricular (AV) nodal artery. FAIP pathologists noted that 'A single focus of inflammation with myocyte necrosis does not, in our opinion, warrant a diagnosis of myocarditis as a cause of sudden death, as this finding may also be seen in non-cardiac deaths. We were unable to appreciate ischemic changes in the myocardium.

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

loss of aircraft control for undetermined reason(s).

Full narrative available

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