NTSB Identification: LAX01FA014.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 15, 2000 in Monterey, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/06/2003
Aircraft: Beech 35-33, registration: N1344G
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 non-instrument rated pilot, on a special visual flight rules departure clearance, encountered instrument meteorological conditions upon climbing into a layer of clouds. The pilot experienced spatial disorientation, commenced an uncontrolled descending spiral, and impacted the ocean. Prior to departure from the 254-foot msl airport, the pilot had been advised of the local weather conditions, which indicated the cloud base was about 700 feet agl, and the weather was deteriorating, with a decreasing ceiling and lowering visibility. A witness observed the airplane takeoff. The witness reported losing sight of the airplane seconds after it entered the base of the overlying marine layer of stratus clouds. Recorded radar data indicates that within 2 minutes the airplane had climbed to about 1,400 feet, whereupon it entered a right graveyard-like spiral from which it did not recover. Other witnesses located on the shoreline or in boats on the bay reported hearing the sound of an airplane in a dive and observed the airplane fly out of the clouds, diving steeply toward the water. The airplane pulled out of the dive, and then rolled inverted while climbing. Upon reaching the apex of its short climb it dropped suddenly into what appeared to be a straight downward dive and descended at a near 90-degree angle straight into the water. At no time did the airplane's engine sound as if it were under stress, faltering, or sputtering. The extensively crushed and fragmented wreckage was recovered from the bay and examined, with no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures identified.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision by which he conducted visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his failure to maintain control of the airplane. Contributing factors were low ceiling, spatial disorientation and lack of instrument rating. Full narrative available
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