NTSB Identification: MIA01FA071.
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Accident occurred Sunday, February 04, 2001 in Bluffton, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2002
Aircraft: Mooney M20R, registration: N88FJ
Injuries: 2 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 instrument-rated pilot obtained a weather brief which indicated instrument meteorological flight conditions, with cloud bases near 600 feet, and tops above 10,000 feet. Flight visibility was 0 miles in the clouds, and near 4 miles in mist below the lowest cloud base. An AIRMET for IFR conditions had been in effect for the area of the accident site. The pilot departed Savannah, Georgia during daylight hours, and about 8 minutes into the flight after he had acknowledged an Air Traffic Controller's instruction to fly heading of 080 degrees, and to maintain an altitude of 3,000 feet, the airplane was observed to turn to the left, followed by in a descending turn to the right. The airplane was last observed at 1318:38, at an altitude of 1,700 feet. It collided with high voltage utility wires, and impacted the ground spreading burning debris over a large area. A witness who was outside her house on her porch said she saw the accident airplane in a descent with one wing low as if in a turn, and it disappeared behind trees, exploding on impact. She stated that the engine sounded as if it was operating normally prior to the impact. Postcrash examination of the aircraft did not reveal any evidence of any preaccident failure or malfunction to the airframe, the flight controls, or the engine.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control due to spatial disorientation.

Full narrative available

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