NTSB Identification: IAD02FA002.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 05, 2001 in Pittsfield, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 210M, registration: N6053B
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 airplane was cruising at 11,000 feet when the air traffic controller noticed it was over 40 degrees off its assigned heading. The controller contacted the pilot, who said he would correct his heading. The controller then offered him a direct course to his destination, which the pilot accepted. The controller observed the airplane make another "hard left turn," and queried the pilot again, but received no reply. The airplane lost 4,000 feet during a 24-second period, after which, radar contact ceased. Witnesses on the ground saw the airplane descend out of the clouds in a vertical spiral, then saw the left wing depart. The engine was running in an overspeed condition. Toxicological testing of the pilot, a retired medical doctor, revealed the presence of a barbiturate, an antidepressant, an antihistamine sometimes prescribed as a sleep aid, and quinine.

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

The pilot's loss of control in flight due to spatial disorientation, and his subsequent overstress of the airplane during a recovery attempt. A factor in the accident was the pilot's use of inappropriate medications.

Full narrative available

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