NTSB Identification: DEN90FA092.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42705.
Accident occurred Saturday, April 14, 1990 in WENDOVER, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/18/1991
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N6401P
Injuries: 2 Fatal,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 STATED HE ACTIVATED THE RWY EDGE LIGHTS PRIOR TO TAXIING FOR TAKEOFF, AND TAXIED FOR 'QUITE A WHILE' BECAUSE THE TAXIWAY IS NOT LIGHTED. HE BELIEVES THE LIGHTS WENT OUT SHORTLY AFTER THE AIRPLANE BECAME AIRBORNE. THE RWY LIGHTS REMAIN ILLUMINATED FOR APRX 15 MIN AFTER ACTIVATION. THE SURVIVING PAX REMEMBERED THE AIRPLANE 'TUMBLING' AFTER TAKEOFF.THE AIRPLANE STRUCK THE GROUND IN A LEFT WING DOWN, NOSE LOW ATTITUDE. THE AIRPORT IS LOCATED SOUTHEAST OF THE CITY, ANDPILOTS FAMILIAR WITH THE AIRPORT DESCRIBED THE AREA ALONG THE EXTENDED CENTERLINE OF RWY 21 AS 'A BLACK HOLE'. THE PILOTHAD LOGGED 4 HRS OF NIGHT TIME IN THE LAST 90 DAYS.

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

THE PILOT'S LOSS OF CONTROL OF THE AIRPLANE DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION. CONTRIBUTING FACTOR(S) WAS: THE LACK OF SURFACE REFERENCE WHILE TAKING OFF OVER A SPARSELY POPULATED AREA UNDER DARK NIGHT LIGHT CONDITIONS.

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