NTSB Identification: NYC89FA032.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 39775.
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 16, 1988 in HOLDEN, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/1990
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration: N1170Z
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 ACFT MADE A NIGHT INSTRUMENT DEPARTURE WITH A MAXIMUM ASSIGNED ALTITUDE OF 4,000 FT. THE PLT FAILED TO FOLLOW HIS DEPARTURE INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING ROUTING. HE CLIMBED TO 4,600 FT AND WHEN QUERIED, SAID HE WAS HAVING AUTOPILOT PROBLEMS. A FEW MINUTES LATER, THE ACFT DISAPPEARED FROM RADAR. THE ACFT IMPACTED A LINE OF TREES AT A HIGH SPEED AND WAS EXTENSIVELY BROKEN UP. THE WRECKAGE WAS SCATTERED OVER 450 FT. THE AUTOPILOT PROBLEM WAS NOT IDENTIFIED DUE TO THE EXTENT OF IMPACT DAMAGE; HOWEVER, NO PROBLEM WAS NOTED WITH THE AIRFRAME OR ENGINE. THE PLT WAS CURRENT WITH INSTRUMENTS, BUT NOT FOR NIGHT FLIGHT. THE ACFT PITOT STATIC SYSTEM AND TRANSPONDER WERE BOTH OUT OF INSPECTION.

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

INFLIGHT LOSS OF CONTROL DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION AND CONTACT WITH TREES PRIOR TO REGAINING CONTROL AFTER THE PILOT EXPERIENCED AN UNKNOWN PROBLEM WITH THE AUTOPILOT. CONTRIBUTING WAS THE LACK OF RECENT NIGHT EXPERIENCE.

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