NTSB Identification: DEN90FA184.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42930.
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 11, 1990 in ALBUQUERQUE, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/1992
Aircraft: Morane-Saulnier MS760, registration: N23ST
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 PILOT, A HEART TRANSPLANT SURGEON, WAS ADVISED OF A DONOR IN LAS CRUCES, NM. HE AND A PHYSICIAN'S ASSISTANT WERE TO FLY TO LAS CRUCES, RETRIEVE THE DONOR HEART, AND RETURN TO ALBUQUERQUE, WHERE THE TRANSPLANT WAS TO BE PERFORMED. THE PILOT OBTAINED A WEATHER BRIEFING (VMC WAS FORECAST) AND FILED AN IFR FLIGHT PLAN. HE FUELED THE JET AIRCRAFT TO CAPACITY AND TOOK OFF INTO A DARK, CLEAR, MOONLESS NIGHT TOWARDS OPEN, FLAT TERRAIN WITH FEW GROUND LIGHTS. THE AIRCRAFT CRASHED SECONDS LATER. IT IMPACTED THE GROUND IN A LEFT WING/NOSE SLIGHTLY LOW ATTITUDE AT HIGH SPEED. THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF PREIMPACT FAILURE/MALFUNCTION OF THE AIRFRAME, ENGINES, INSTRUMENTS, OR CONTROLS. THE PILOT HAD BEEN AWAKE FOR 22 HOURS WITH LITTLE OR NO REST. HE WAS NOT CURRENT FOR NIGHT FLIGHT. HIS IFR CURRENCY COULD NOT BE DETERMINED.

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

FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN A CLIMB AFTER TAKEOFF, DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: DARKNESS, PILOT FATIGUE, AND THE PILOT'S LACK OF RECENT EXPERIENCE IN NIGHT FLYING OPERATION.

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