NTSB Identification: CHI01LA149.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 27, 2001 in Kankakee, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Geertz Zenith CH 200, registration: N77VZ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was destroyed on impact with terrain. The pilot was fatally injured. A witness stated, "I watched it start a bank turn to the left and then nosed straight down. There were no other movements of the aircraft after it nosed down. It did not spin while going down. ... I could not tell if the engine was running ... nor did I notice the propeller. It appeared to me that there was no control of the aircraft after the left bank." The private pilot had 88.9 hours of total flight time and held a third class medical certificate. The pilot listed he used Zoloft and noted no "Mental disorders of any sort ... " on the application for that medical certificate. Extracts from the pilot's personal medical records showed, "... self-discontinued Zoloft 2 weeks ago because of conflict with FAA licensing - patient feels fine off of it. ... An entry approximately 6 weeks before the accident indicates " ...occasional problem staying asleep - has taken Ambien in past ... no problem with concentration ... meds - Zoloft 50 mg per day, approximately 3 days per week ..." Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) reviewed that application and cautioned the pilot, "Because of your history of anxiety and sleep disturbance, operation of aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication and/or treatment is required." CAMI's Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report stated, "SERTRALINE detected in Liver 0.283 (ug/ml, ug/g), DESMETHYLSERTRALINE detected in Liver, and DESMETHYLSERTRALINE detected in Blood." Desmethylsertraline is the predominant metabolite of the antidepressant sertraline, Zoloft. Sertraline, Zoloft is [a] SSRI antidepressant. ... Warnings - may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). No pre-impact anomalies were found with the airplane.

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

The loss of control on initial climbout for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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