NTSB Identification: LAX00FA213.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 01, 2000 in Prescott Valley, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 414A, registration: N414PS
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 reported hearing a loud noise and feeling his ears pop while the twin-engine airplane was in cruise flight about 12,900 feet. Radar data revealed that the airplane was on a relatively straight and level flight track until approximately 1 hour prior to the accident, when it initiated a spiraling descent to the left. The airplane continued toward the accident site on an erratic flight path, with the altitude varying between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. The pilot reported having trouble seeing his instruments and felt confused. He thought he was landing at an airport New Mexico near his ranch, but landed on a road in Arizona and struck light poles. Witnesses at the accident site stated that the pilot appeared impaired and confused, but did not smell of alcohol. The pilot left the accident site, and was not tested for alcohol or carbon monoxide poisoning. He reported that he did not consume any drugs or alcohol prior to, or during the flight, but did report smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and also smoked cigars. Examination of the pressurization and cabin air systems revealed that a fractured clamp that could have prevented the cabin from maintaining pressurization. In addition, there was evidence of engine exhaust by-products in some components of the airplane's pressurization system that should not have been exposed to engine exhaust. The source of the engine exhaust infusion into the pressurization system could not be determined.

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

The pilot's physical impairment due to the cumulative effects of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust by-products, carbon monoxide from heavy tobacco use, and the loss of an undetermined amount of cabin pressurization. A factor in the loss of pressurization was a fractured clamp.

Full narrative available

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