NTSB Identification: ATL92FA185.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 48082.
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 23, 1992 in SAMANTHA, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/26/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-151, registration: N43313
Injuries: 3 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 OBTAINED A WEATHER BRIEFING & FILED A VFR FLIGHT PLAN JUST BEFORE HIS DEPARTURE SHORTLY AFTER MIDNIGHT. CLOUD LAYERS WERE FORECAST ALONG THE ROUTE OF FLIGHT. EN ROUTE HE CONTACTED ATC & SAID HE WAS LOST. HIS CONVERSATION INDICATED THAT HE WAS IN CLOUDS. RADAR INFORMATION DEPICTED THAT THE FLIGHT PATH OF THE AIRPLANE BECAME ERRATIC IN HEADING & ALTITUDE. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED THE GROUND IN A STEEP FLIGHT PATH & NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE. THE PILOT HAD OBTAINED HIS PRIVATE CERTIFICATE ABOUT THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT. HIS PILOT'S LOG INDICATED THAT HE HAD BEEN RECEIVING INSTRUMENT FLIGHT INSTRUCTION. HE HAD A TOTAL OF 7 SIMULATED INSTRUMENT FLIGHT HOURS.

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

THE PILOT'S INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING AND PREPARATION, HIS LACK OF EXPEREINCE, WHICH RESULTED IN AN ENCOUNTER WITH INSTRUMENT WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING AN ATTEMPTED VISUAL FLIGHT, AND HIS SUBSEQUENT SPATIAL DISORIENTATION. FACTORS WERE THE DARK NIGHT CONDITIONS, CLOUDS, AND THE PILOT'S GEOGRAPHICAL DISORIENTATION.

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