NTSB Identification: FTW98LA303.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 07, 1998 in BEAUMONT, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-60-602P, registration: N6898Y
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

An IFR flight plan was filed and a clearance was received for the 337 nautical mile flight. After departure from runway 12, while at approximately 200 feet above the ground, the non-instrument rated private pilot reported that a door had opened in flight and he was returning to the airport. The airplane impacted trees and terrain approximately one mile from the approach end of runway 30. Examination of the wreckage by FAA inspectors revealed that the door for the baggage compartment had damage consistent with an open door. Physical evidence and ground signatures at the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the ground at a high rate of descent, at relatively low forward speed, while configured with the landing gear and flaps extended. FAA records revealed that the pilot had accumulated a total of 1,850 flight hours. The pilot's level of experience on the accident airplane could not be determined; however, the investigation revealed that the 1982 model airplane was purchased by the company 4 months prior to the accident. Despite several attempts to obtain a completed NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot did not return the requested form.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while attempting to return to the airport. Factors were the open baggage compartment door and the pilot's diverted attention to the open door.

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