NTSB Identification: DEN01LA039.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 06, 2001 in Spanish Fork, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N108ES
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he and pilot-rated passenger assessed the weather conditions before departing on the local night flight, and determined it was safe to fly. The pilot estimated the visibility to be 5 miles. Shortly after takeoff, both the pilot and pilot rated passenger lost sight of the ground and horizon. The pilot wrote, "I felt the passenger/pilot grab the [control] yoke. I asked what he was doing. He said he felt we were turning. I then noticed we were going down." The pilot-rated passenger said they were "disoriented. [The pilot] thought we should descend a little. That's what we were doing when we hit the lake. We didn't really see it coming." He made no mention of control interference. Neither pilot was instrument rated. The airplane impacted a frozen lake, skidded about 300 feet, and fell through the ice. A witness reported that the visibility was 2 miles in fog.

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

Improper weather evaluation by both the pilot and pilot/passenger, and the pilot's inadvertent VFR flight into IMC resulting in his spatial disorientation. Factors were the pilot rated passenger's spatial disorientation, fog, and night conditions.

Full narrative available

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