NTSB Identification: LAX00LA038.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 21, 1999 in AVALON, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2001
Aircraft: Smith, Ted Aerostar AEROSTAR 600, registration: N97CC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 pilot/owner was performing a post maintenance check flight about 20 miles off shore. He was receiving visual flight advisories from a terminal radar approach facility while in level flight about 4,900 feet msl. Subsequently, the airplane started slowing then descending in a right spiral, and radar contact was lost about 1,000 feet msl. The pilot's body was recovered from the ocean. According to the autopsy report, the pilot had experienced sudden cardiac death secondary to an acute myocardial infarction due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Tramadol, a painkiller not approved by the FAA for flight, was detected in a drug screen and may have masked the chest pain.

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

The pilot's in-flight loss of control due to physical incapacitation from sudden cardiac death secondary to an acute myocardial infarction.

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