NTSB Identification: LAX92LA322.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 47381.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 12, 1992 in CHICO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/14/1993
Aircraft: BEECH A23A, registration: N7904L
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

THE PILOT SAID HE WAS FLYING SOME FAMILY MEMBERS ON A TOUR OF THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN RANGE FOOT HILLS WHEN THE FLIGHT ENCOUNTERED SOME RAPIDLY BUILDING CUMULUS CLOUDS WHILE CRUISING AT AN ALTITUDE OF ABOUT 11,500 FEET MSL. THE PILOT SAID HE WAS NAVIGATING AROUND THE BUILD UPS ATTEMPTING TO MAINTAIN VFR CONDITIONS WHEN THE CLOUDS SURROUNDED THE AIRCRAFT. THE FLIGHT INADVERTENTLY ENTERED ONE OF THE LARGE CLOUDS AND THE PILOT SAID THE AIRCRAFT ENDED UP IN A HIGH SPEED SPIRAL DIVE AT AN AIRSPEED IN EXCESS OF ABOUT 190 KNOTS. THE PILOT FURTHER STATED THAT HE, WITH THE HELP OF HIS SON, 'STARTED PULLING BACK ON THE WHEEL' AND RECOVERED CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT. THE FLIGHT THEN RETURNED TO ITS HOME BASE AND LANDED. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRCRAFT BY FAA INSPECTORS REVEALED THAT BOTH WINGS HAD MAJOR BUCKLES AT THE PRODUCTION JOINTS BETWEEN THE INBOARD AND OUTBOARD WING PANELS, WITH THE OUTBOARD PANELS EXHIBITING AN UPWARD PERMANENT SET. IN ADDITION, THE FUSELAGE IMMEDIATELY AFT OF THE FIREWALL AND FORWARD OF THE EMPENNAGE EXHIBITED AREAS OF SKIN BUCKLING.

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

1) THE PILOT'S INADVERTENT ENTRY INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, 2) HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE AIRCRAFT DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION, 3) THE INADVERTENT ENTRY INTO A SPIRAL DIVE AT AN EXCESSIVE AIRSPEED, AND, 4) THE PILOT'S IMPROPER USE OF THE FLIGHT CONTROLS WHICH IMPOSED EXCESSIVE LOADS ON THE AIRFRAME DURING THE ATTEMPTED RECOVERY FROM THE SPIRAL DIVE.

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