NTSB Identification: ATL93FA151.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 05, 1993 in LAURINBURG, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N5339F
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.

THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PRIVATE PILOT ENCOUNTERED AN AREA OF THUNDERSTORMS DURING CRUISE FLIGHT. AN EXAM OF THE CRASH SITE REVEALED EVIDENCE OF AN IN-FLIGHT BREAK-UP WITH WRECKAGE SCATTERED OVER A 1000 BY 300 FOOT AREA. LARGE PIECES OF THE AIRPLANE, SUCH AS THE LEFT WING, WERE FOUND MORE THAN 150 FEET TO THE SIDE OF THE MAIN WRECKAGE PATH. NO RECORD WAS FOUND OF THE PILOT RECEIVING A WEATHER BRIEFING BEFORE FLIGHT. WITNESSES STATED THAT AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT, THERE WAS HEAVY RAIN, LIGHTNING, AND REDUCED VISIBILITY IN THE AREA.

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

THE PILOT'S VFR FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC), FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT AFTER BECOMING SPATIALLY DISORIENTED, AND INADVERTENTLY EXCEEDING THE DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF THE AIRCRAFT. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO OBTAIN A PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING, AND THE PILOT'S LACK OF INSTRUMENT EXPERIENCE.

Full narrative available

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