NTSB Identification: ATL94FA012.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 03, 1993 in HOHENWALD, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/21/1995
Aircraft: MOONEY M20L, registration: N132MP
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 PILOT & HIS PASSENGER WERE RETURNING HOME ON A NIGHT, VFR, BUSINESS FLIGHT. WITNESSES REPORTED THAT LOW CEILINGS & FOG PREVAILED. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH TREES & TERRAIN ABOUT 2 MI SOUTH-SOUTHEAST OF THE DESTINATION (A VFR-ONLY AIRPORT). THE WRECKAGE PATH WAS ABOUT 500' IN LENGTH. THERE WAS EVIDENCE THAT INITIAL IMPACT WAS IN A LEFT DESCENDING TURN. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE AIRPLANE WAS FOUND. A TOXICOLOGY CHECK OF THE PILOT'S BLOOD SHOWED 6.114 UG/ML OF CHLORPHENIRAMINE, 0.272 UG/ML OF DIPHENHYDRAMINE, 13.5 UG/ML OF ACETAMINOPHEN, 30 MG/DL OF ACETALDEHYDE, & 10.3 UG/ML OF SALICYLATE (ASPIRIN). ALSO, 0.61 UG/ML OF HYDROCODONE WAS DETECTED IN THE PILOT'S BILE. AN AVIATION MEDICAL EXAMINER (AME) REPORTED THE PILOT HAD SUFFERED FROM ALLERGIES & DEPRESSION. THE AME WAS ALSO THE PILOT'S PERSONAL PHYSICAN & PART OWNER OF THE ACCIDENT AIRPLANE. HE HAD REPEATEDLY PRESCRIBED MEDICATIONS TO THE PILOT, AS THOSE FOUND DURING THE TOXICOLOGY TESTS, THAT WERE NOT APPROVED FOR USE WHILE OPERATING AN AIRCRAFT.

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

THE PILOT'S IMPAIRED JUDGEMENT AND PERFORMANCE BY FLYING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS, THAT RESULTED IN HIS CONTINUATION OF VFR FLIGHT AT NIGHT IN INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC) AND HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROPER ALTITUDE (OR CLEARANCE) FROM THE TERRAIN.

Full narrative available

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