NTSB Identification: BFO91FA061.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 50115.
Accident occurred Monday, July 01, 1991 in WAYNESBORO, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/1993
Aircraft: MOONEY M20J, registration: N5809J
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.

THE PILOT WAS EN ROUTE AT 11,500 FEET AND WAS RECEIVING TRAFFIC ADVISORIES FROM AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, WHO ADVISED HIM OF HEAVY PRECIPITATION AHEAD. THE PILOT BEGAN A DESCENT ABOUT 14 MILES FROM HIS DESTINATION. ATC ADVISED THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN VISUAL METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS, WHICH HE ACKNOWLEDGED. THE PILOT LATER REPORTED HE HAD ENCOUNTERED RAIN AND TURBULENCE AND THAT HE WAS NOT IN VMC. ATC LOST CONTACT WITH THE AIRPLANE SOON AFTERWARDS. WITNESSES REPORTED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WHEN THEY SAW THE AIRPLANE DESCEND AND CRASH. THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE AIRPLANE HAD AN INFLIGHT BREAKUP; WRECKAGE WAS STREWN A DISTANCE OF ABOUT TWO MILES. THE EXAMINATION DID NOT DISCLOSE EVIDENCE OF MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION.

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

THE PILOTS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL WHICH RESULTED IN OVERSTRESS OF THE AIRPLANE. CONTRIBUTING WAS VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC AND THUNDERSTORMS.

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