NTSB Identification: IAD98FA037.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 15, 1998 in WEST MIFFLIN, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N67893
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 student pilot was in the traffic pattern practicing touch and go landings and had completed one landing. The airplane was on the downwind leg for the second landing when the control tower lost radio contact with the pilot. The pilot of another airplane in the traffic pattern located the accident airplane at the point where the pilot would turn from the downwind leg to the base leg. A witness, near the accident site, said he saw a small airplane in a 'straight down dive.' The airplane impacted the ground in a near vertical position and came to rest inverted. Postaccident examination of the airplane did not disclose any structural or mechanical anomalies. Toxicological tests of the pilot revealed 0.015 (ug/ml, ug/g) diphenhydramine in blood, 0.012 (ug/ml, ug/g) doxylamine in blood, and unquantified levels of trimethoprim, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine in blood. Diphenhydramine and doxylamine are sedating over-the-counter antihistamines, and the levels detected in blood indicate they may have been used by the pilot more than 24 hours before the accident flight. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant, phenylpropanolamine is a metabolite of pseudoephedrine, and trimethoprim is a prescription antibiotic. In the Code of Federal Regulations, 14 CFR 91.17, it states: 'No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft...While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety... .'

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. A related factor was the pilot's impairment due to the use of drugs.

Full narrative available

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