NTSB Identification: BFO88FA008.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 36220.
Accident occurred Friday, November 27, 1987 in WILLIS, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260B, registration: N4832S
Injuries: 3 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 WAS ON A NIGHT IFR FLIGHT AT 7000 FT MSL IN IMC WHEN THE PLT REPORTED THE DIRECTIONAL GYRO WAS INOPERATIVE. THE ACFT WAS OUTBOUND FROM THE PULASKI VOR ON V45 HEADED SOUTHEAST. THE PLT FURTHER REPORTED THE TURN&BANK AND THE MAG COMPASS WERE OPERATIVE. SHORTLY AFTERWARDS THE PLT WAS UNABLE TO MAINTAIN THE CORRECT COURSE. THE ACFT EVENTUALLY REVERSED COURSE. WHILE ATC WAS TRYING TO HELP THE PLT RETURN TO THE CORRECT COURSE THE ACFT DESCENDED AND COLLIDED WITH THE GROUND. WITNESSES NEAR THE ACCIDENT SITE REPORTED POOR VISIBILITY, LOW CLOUDS, AND FOG. THE AIRCRAFT'S IMC CAPABILITY COULD NOT BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED DUE TO THE EXTENSIVE FIRE AND IMPACT DAMAGE. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE DRIVEN VACUUM PUMP DID NOT REVEAL CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE OF FAILURE. THE ACFT WAS EQUIPPED WITH A STANDBY VACUUM SYSTEM, HOWEVER, OPERATION OF THE SYSTEM COULD NOT BE CONFIRMED. THE PLT HAD FLOWN THE FIRST LEG (4.0 HRS.) TO DROP OFF PAX AND WAS RETURNING TO HIS HOME BASE. THE ACFT HAD FLOWN ABOUT 3 HRS. ON THIS LEG.

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

FLIGHT/NAVIGATION INSTRUMENT(S)..MISREAD..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

EMERGENCY PROCEDURE..NOT FOLLOWED..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

FLIGHT/NAV INSTRUMENTS,DIRECTIONAL GYRO..INOPERATIVE


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..NIGHT


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LOW CEILING


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..RAIN


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..FOG


Contributing Factors

FATIGUE..PILOT IN COMMAND

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