NTSB Identification: MIA85FA254.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 29650.
Accident occurred Friday, September 13, 1985 in ARIPEKA, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY M20F, registration: N4797N
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 STUDENT PLT STATED THAT AFTER DINNER, WHICH INCLUDED A SMALL AMOUNT OF WINE, HE WENT TO THE ARPT TO CLEAN HIS ACFT, THEN ELECTED TO GO FOR A SHORT FLT. HE INTENDED TO STAY WITHIN 25 MI OF THE ARPT, BUT FOUND HIMSELF OVER LAKELAND.HE LANDED AT A STRIP TO CALL, BUT THERE WAS NO TELEPHONE, SO HE TOOK OFF AGAIN. WHILE RETURNING, THE PLT DIVERTED TOWARD THE WEST TO AVOID A STORM. SUBSEQUENTLY, DARKNESS OCCURRED & THE STUDENT BECAME LOST & DISORIENTED. HE SAW A HIGHWAY & FLEW ALONG IT WHILE TRYING TO IDENTIFY A FAMILIAR LANDMARK. EVENTUALLY, THE PLT FLEW OUT OVER THE EDGE OF THE GULF OF MEXICO & INADVERTENTLY DESCENDED INTO THE WATER. AFTER COMING TO REST, HE CRAWLED OUT OF THE ACFT & FELL INTO THE WATER, BUT GOT BACK ONTO THE WING OF THE ACFT. HE REPORTED THAT WHILE HE WAS WAITING TO BE RESCUED, HE RINSED SALT WATER & GASOLINE FROM HIS MOUTH & DRANK FROM A BOTTLE OF GINGER ALE. A BOTTLE OF WINE WAS FND IN THE ACFT. A CHECK OF THE PLT'S BLOOD SHOWED AN ALCOHOL LEVEL OF 0.07 GM% (0.07%) & A TRACE OF DIAZEPAM.

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

PROPER ALTITUDE..NOT MAINTAINED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

BECAME LOST/DISORIENTED..INADVERTENT..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

PLANNING/DECISION..IMPROPER..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..WATER,ROUGH


Contributing Factors

IMPAIRMENT(ALCOHOL)..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..CLOUDS


Contributing Factors

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..RAIN


Contributing Factors

LIGHT CONDITION..DARK NIGHT


Contributing Factors

VISUAL/AURAL PERCEPTION..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

LACK OF TOTAL EXPERIENCE..PILOT IN COMMAND

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