NTSB Identification: NYC90FA117.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42451.
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 29, 1990 in ROME, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/02/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-181, registration: N8376N
Injuries: 1 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 PVT PILOT WAS FLYING FROM HAMILTON, CANADA, TO BERLIN, NJ AT NIGHT. HE STOPPED AT BUFFALO, NY AND RECEIVED A WEATHER BRIEFING WITH VNR (VFR FLIGHT NOT RECOMMENDED) DUE TO RAIN, LOW CLOUDS, AND FOG. HE DEPARTED VFR AND CONTACTED WILLIAMSPORT AFSS, RECEIVED AN EN ROUTE BRIEFING AND THEN MADE AN UNPLANNED STOP AT ELMIRA, NY. WHILE ON THE GROUND HE RECEIVED TWO ADDITIONAL BRIEFINGS, BOTH WITH VNR. HE AGAIN DEPARTED VFR AND CONTACTED THE NY ARTCC FOR VFR ADVISORIES. HE SAID HE WAS AT 3200 FT, HOWEVER NY CENTER SAID 4200 FEET WAS THE MINIMUM RADAR VECOTRING ALTITUDE. HE FINALLY CLIMBED TO 4000 FT AND DISAPPEARED FROM RADAR AFTER APPROXIMATELY 1 1/2 MINUTES. THE LAST FEW RADAR CONTACTS SHOWED A LEFT TURN APPROX TWICE STANDARD RATE. THE GROUND IMPACT SHOWED THE AIRPLANE IN A LEFT TURN AT IMPACT. WITNESSES ON THE GROUND REPORTED RAIN AND FOG. NO EVIDENCE OF A MECHANICAL FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION WAS FOUND.

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

AN INFLIGHT LOSS OF CONTROL DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S LACK OF AN INSTRUMENT RATING, AND HIS DECISION TO MAKE THE FLIGHT AFTER RECEIVING THREE SEPARATE BRIEFINGS WHERE HE WAS TOLD 'VFR FLIGHT NOT RECOMMENDED.'

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