NTSB Identification: ATL94FA028.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 10, 1993 in LAGRANGE, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/20/1994
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N4195B
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.

MOMENTS BEFORE THE FLIGHT DEPARTED, THE PILOT REQUESTED AN ENGINE JUMP START FROM THE LOCAL FIXED BASE OPERATOR. HE TOLD THE MAINTENANCE PERSON THAT HE LEFT THE LORAN ON AND THE BATTERY WAS COMPLETLEY DRAINED. THE MAINTENANCE PERSON URGED THE PILOT TO CHARGE THE BATTERY BEFORE STARTING THE TRIP, BUT THE PILOT SAID, HE HAD AN IMPORTANT MEETING AND MUST RETURN. ALL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL HANDLING WAS NORMAL. ACCORDING TO THE APPROACH CONTROLLER, THE FLIGHT'S PROFILE APPEARED NORMAL ON RADAR AND THE PILOT DID NOT REPORT ANY DIFFICULTIES. AS THE FLIGHT CONTINUED THE APPROACH TO LAND, A WITNESS SAW THE AIRPLANE IN SUCH AN ATTITUDE THAT HE COULD SEE THE WHITE PAINTED TOP OF THE AIRPLANE. THE WITNESS SAID, THERE WERE NO LIGHTS ILLUMINATED ON THE AIRPLANE PRIOR TO IT'S IMPACT WITH TH GROUND. EXAMINATION OF THE WRECKAGE FAILED TO DISCLOSE A MECHANICAL PROBLEM. ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS, INCLUDING THE BATTERY, WERE DESTROYED BY IMPACT FORCES. EXAMINATION OF A NAVIGATIONAL LIGHT RECOVERED FROM THE AIRPLANE FAILED TO DISCLOSE ANY UNUSUAL DEFORMATION TO THE BULB FILAMENT. AN EXAMINATION OF FAA RECORDS FAILED TO DISCLOSE AN AIRMAN INSTRUMENT CERTIFICATION FOR THE PILOT.

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

WAS THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO CORRECT A KNOWN LOW BATTERY CONDITION BEFORE DEPARTING, WHICH RESULTED IN A LOSS OF ELECTRICAL POWER DURING AN INSTRUMENT APPROACH. FACTORS WERE THE DARK NIGHT AND THE LOW SCATTERED CLOUD LAYER.

Full narrative available

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