NTSB Identification: BFO89FA065.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41029.
Accident occurred Monday, July 31, 1989 in COLLEGE PARK, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/1991
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-201T, registration: N64MB
Injuries: 4 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 PLT & PASSENGERS WERE RETURNING FROM AN EVENING X-COUNTRY FLT WITH THE FLT OPERATING IN IMC, FORECASTED TO CONTAIN RAIN SHOWERS & THUNDERSTORMS. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ACFT CRASHED AFTER AN IN-FLT BREAKUP. AN INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE HORIZONTAL STABILATOR, THEN THE OUTBOARD PORTION OF BOTH WINGS HAD FAILED IN A DOWN & AFT DIRECTION. THE STABILATOR AND PORTIONS OF THE WINGS WERE FOUND ABOUT 1200' FROM THE FUSELAGE. RADAR DATA INDICATED THE ACFT HAD ENTERED AN INCREASING LEFT DESCENDING TURN, FOLLOWED BY A RAPID DESCENT RATE JUST BEFORE GROUND IMPACT. THE ACFT'S GROSS WEIGHT WAS ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT 3000 LBS. ITS MAXIMUM CERTIFIED GROSS WEIGHT WAS 2900 LBS. A REVIEW OF THE PLT'S LOG INDICATED THAT HE HAD OBTAINED ONE HOUR OF INSTRUMENT FLIGHT TIME & ONE INSTRUMENT APPROACH IN THE PREVIOUS SIX MONTHS.

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

FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION, AND HIS EXCEEDING THE DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF THE AIRCRAFT, WHICH RESULTED IN OVERLOAD FAILURE OF THE STABILATORS AND WINGS. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO FOLLOW PROCEDURES/DIRECTIVES, HIS LACK OF RECENT INSTRUMENT EXPERIENCE, EXCESSIVE GROSS WEIGHT OF THE AIRCRAFT ALLOWED BY THE PILOT, DARK NIGHT, AND ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS.

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