NTSB Identification: FTW92FA015.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45369.
Accident occurred Sunday, October 27, 1991 in COTULLA, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/20/1992
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N6307Y
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 PLT TOOK OFF ON A DARK NIGHT FROM RWY 13, WHICH HAD FEW VISUAL REFERENCES OFF THE DEP END. HE RPRTD THAT AFTER CLIMBING TO ABOUT 800 TO 1000 FT, THERE WAS A LOSS OF INSTRUMENT LIGHTING FOR THE HSI, ATTITUDE INDCR, ALTIMETER & VERTICAL SPEED INDCR. THE PSGR (HIS WIFE) HELD A FLASHLIGHT IN AN ATTEMPT TO ILLUMINATE THE EFFECTED INSTRUMENTS. HE ENGAGED THE HEADING HOLD (2 TIMES) & THE ACFT ENTERED A STEEP DSCNDG LEFT TURN. REALIZING THE ACFT HAD ENTERED A STEEP DSCNT, HE PULLED THE YOKE AFT, BUT THE ACFT IMPACTED THE TERRAIN. BOTH OCCUPANTS WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED, BUT THE PSGR NOTIFIED THE ARPT MANAGER OF THE ACDNT & A SEARCH WAS INITIATED. DRG THE INVESTIGATION, NO DISCREPANCY WITH THE AUTOPLT WAS VERIFIED, BUT A SHORT WAS FOUND AT A SPLICE IN THE INSTRUMENT LIGHTING SYSTEM.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: DARKNESS, AND A SHORT IN THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM WHICH RESULTED IN PARTIAL FAILURE OF THE INSTRUMENT LIGHTS AND A MALFUNCTION OF THE AUTOPILOT.

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