NTSB Identification: CHI91FA259.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45241.
Accident occurred Monday, August 12, 1991 in GUIDE ROCK, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N5145P
Injuries: 2 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 WHO WAS NOT INSTRUMENT RATED WAS TRYING TO REMAIN VFR ON TOP WHEN HE ENCOUNTERED IMC AT 17,500 FEET. AIRCRAFT ENTERED AN UNCONTROLLED DESCENT AFTER THE PILOT TRIED TO MANEUVER TO REMAIN IN VMC. THE RIGHT WING SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT DURING DESCENT. THE PILOT WAS ABOVE 14,000 FEET FOR ONE HOUR. THE AIRCRAFT WAS NOT OXYGEN EQUIPPED, AND NO EVIDENCE OF PORTABLE OXYGEN WAS FOUND. THERE WAS NO RECORD OF A PRELFIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING. THE PILOT GOT AN INFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING 1.5 HOURS BEFORE THE CRASH IN WHICH VFR WAS NOT RECOMMENDED, AND A ROUTE OF FLIGHT TO AVOID THE WEATHER WAS SUGGESTED. A SECOND INFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING WAS OBSTAINED 20 MINUTES BEORE THE CRASH IN WHICH A ROUTE OF FLIGHT TO AVOID THE WEATHER WAS AGAIN SUGGESTED. PILOT CONTINUED UNTIL HE WAS IMC.

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

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION, AND EXCEEDING THE DESIGN LIMITS OF THE AIRCRAFT. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT ARE INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING, VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC, FLIGHT WEATHER AVOIDANCE ASSISTANCE NOT FOLLOWED, EXCESSIVE ALTITUDE, PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT (ANOXIA/HYPOXIA), AND LACK OF TOTAL INSTRUMENT TIME.

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