NTSB Identification: CHI02FA034.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 16, 2001 in Spearville, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301, registration: N9224X
Injuries: 1 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.
At 1809, the pilot received a weather briefing from Wichita Flight Service for a flight from LaCrosse, Kansas, to Dodge City, Kansas (DDC). The controller told the pilot that VFR flight was not recommended and to expect instrument conditions at DDC. At approximately 1830, a witness observed the airplane fly over his house heading southwest. The witness said the airplane turned south and went into a fog bank. The witness then said the airplane came out of the fog bank heading west and diving. The airplane hit the ground and exploded. The witness said the airplane's lights were on and the engine was running. An examination of the airplane revealed no pre-impact anomalies. At 1856, the National Weather Service at DDC, 12 miles southwest of the accident site, reported winds 150 degrees at 13 knots, ceilings of 600 feet broken, 1,000 feet overcast, 5 miles visibility with mist, temperature 54 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 53 degrees F, and altimeter 30.27 inches of Mercury. The pilot held a third class medical certificate dated December 15, 1999. The certificate contained limitations stating, "Not valid for night flying or by color signal control". The lighting conditions at the time of the accident was dark night.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control and his inadvertent flight into known adverse weather conditions. Factors relating to this accident were the pilot's limited ability to see at night, spatial disorientation, the dark night, and the fog. Full narrative available
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