NTSB Identification: LAX85FA198.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 27866.
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 10, 1985 in PETALUMA, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140, registration: N140MC
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 ATP PLT INITIATED A SHORT X-COUNTRY FLT AT NIGHT IN AN ACFT WITH NO ATTITUDE GYRO INSTRUMENTS. JUST BEFORE THE ACFT CRASHED, WITNESSES HEARD THE ACFT. THEY REPORTED THAT THE ENG SOUNDED LIKE THE PLT WAS DOING STUNTS OR SHARP TURNS. THEY SAID THEY COULD NOT SEE THE ACFT BECAUSE OF THE FOG OR CLOUD COVER AT ABOUT 600 FT. SUDDENLY THEY SAW A LIGHT THAT IMMEDIATELY WENT TOWARD THE GROUND. AT ABOUT THAT SAME TIME, THEY HEARD THE ENG WHINE AS IF THE ACFT WAS IN A DIVE. THE LIGHT DISAPPEARED & THEY HEARD A THUD. THE ACFT WAS LOCATED WHERE IT HAD CRASHED IN A POND. DURING AN EXAM OF THE WRECKAGE NO PREIMPACT FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE ACFT OR ENG WAS FOUND. THE ACFT WAS EQUIPPED WITH A NEEDLE BALL, AIRSPEED INDICATOR, ALTIMETER & MAGNETIC COMPASS.

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

AIRCRAFT HANDLING..NOT MAINTAINED..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:

VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC..INADVERTENT..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..DARK NIGHT


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..CLOUDS


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LOW CEILING

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