NTSB Identification: ATL91LA158.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45653.
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 14, 1991 in WAXHAW, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N6262P
Injuries: 1 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 NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PILOT WAS INFORMED THAT THE WEATHER AT HIS DESTINATION AIRPORT WAS IFR, HOWEVER HE ELECTED TO COMMENCE THE FLIGHT UNDER A VFR FLIGHT PLAN. WHILE FLYING BETWEEN CLOUD LAYERS EN ROUTE, THE WEATHER DETERIORATED, AND HE ENTERED IMC. WHILE BEING VECTORED TOWARD BETTER WEATHER CONDITIONS, HE BECAME DISORIENTED, AND ENTERED A HIGH SPEED DIVE. DURING THE RECOVERY FROM THE DIVE, APPROXIMATELY 50 PERCENT OF THE STABILATOR SEPARATED FROM THE AIRPLANE. THE PILOT WAS ABLE TO FLY THE AIRPLANE TO A NEARBY PRIVATE AIRPORT. HE LANDED THE AIRPLANE HARD ON THE GRASS ADJACENT TO THE RUNWAY. AN INSPECTION OF THE STABILATOR SURFACES REVEALED A POSITIVE 'G' OVERLOAD FAILURE; THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF METAL FATIGUE.

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

THE SPATIAL DISORIENTATION EXPERIENCED BY THE PILOT IN IMC, HIS FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL, AND THE EXCEEDING OF THE DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF THE AIRCRAFT. FACTOR(S) IN THIS ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING, THE VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC, HIS POOR JUDGEMENT, HIS OVERCONFIDENCE IN HIS PERSONAL ABILITY, AND HIS LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN INSTRUMENT FLYING.

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