NTSB Identification: MIA89FA108.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 38905.
Accident occurred Monday, March 13, 1989 in HOLLEY, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/24/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-160, registration: N5572W
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.

DRG A NGT X-COUNTRY FLT, THE PLT WAS RCVG VFR FLT FLWG FM EGLIN AFB APCH CTL. WHILE CRUISING AT 4500 FT, HE OBTAINED WX FOR THE AREA. HE WAS ADZD THAT ACCORDING TO 1 HR OLD OBSNS, WX AT EGLIN WAS 1700' SCT, & AT CRESTVIEW, THERE WAS A 3000'BKN CEILING. THE PLT ELECTED TO DSCND THRU 'THIS THIN LAYER' TO 1500' & WAS ADZD TO REMAIN VFR. SUBSEQUENTLY, HE RPRTD AT 1500', THEN WAS ADZD TO CTC PENSACOLA APCH CTL, SINCE HE WAS LEAVING EGLIN'S AIRSPACE. THE PLT ACKNOWLEDGED, BUT THERE WAS NO FURTHER RADIO CTC WITH THE ACFT. A SEARCH WAS INITIATED & THE ACFT WAS FND 5 DAYS LTR WHERE IT HAD CRASHED IN A REMOTE/UNLIGHTED AREA ON A BOMBING RANGE. AN EXAM OF THE ACFT REVEALED IT HAD CRASHED IN A STEEP, NOSE DOWN, RGT WING LOW ATTITUDE. NO PREIMPACT MECHANICAL PRBLM OF THE ACFT WAS FND, BUT IT WAS BADLY DMGD BY IMPACT & FIRE. ABT 22 MI WEST AT PENSACOLA, THE WX WAS 800' BKN, 1700' BKN, VIS 7 MI; ABT 17 MI EAST AT EGLIN, THE WX WAS PTLY OBSCD, 400' THIN SCT, 1500' THIN SCT, VIS 3 MI WITH FOG. NO RECORD WAS FND OF A PREFLT WX BRIEFING FOR THE NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PLT.

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

CONTINUED FLIGHT BY THE PLT INTO ADVERSE WX, FOLLOWED BY SPATIAL DISORIENTATION AND LOSS OF AIRCRAFT CONTROL. LACK OF A PREFLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING, WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND LACK OF VISUAL CUES AT NIGHT WERE CONSIDERED CONTRIBUTING FACTORS.

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