NTSB Identification: MIA02FA032.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, November 16, 2001 in Poplarville, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N89645
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.
A friend of the accident pilot reported that he and the accident pilot were involved in a musical show in Biloxi, Mississippi. They each flew their airplanes from their homes to Biloxi for the show. On the evening of November 15, 2001, he and the accident pilot flew to Biloxi, and parked their airplanes at the Ocean Springs Airport, in Ocean Springs. After the performance, he and the accident pilot visited with the cast and crew. The accident pilot may have had some beer and wine, he is not sure, but, he did not seem impaired. During the drive back to the airport, to fly home, they stopped at a convenience store so the accident pilot could buy cigarettes. He does not know if the accident pilot bought beer or anything else. At the airport, they each did a pre-flight inspection of their airplanes, and departed one after the other around 0100. The accident pilot departed first. The accident pilot flew a northerly course for a time. He flew a 300 degree course toward his destination of McComb, Mississippi. He, the friend of the accident pilot, was talking with the accident pilot via the radio. It was a clear, cold night, with no clouds. Visibility was greater than 50 miles. He could see the lights of the accident airplane and saw it was further north than he would expect and at a lower altitude than he thought it should be at. The accident pilot indicated he had been having a sticky altimeter. The accident pilot turned toward him and came in a mile behind him. He was at 4,500 feet and the accident airplane appeared to be at the same altitude. The friend lost sight of the airplane, but continued to talk to the accident pilot via radio. A short time later, the friend of the pilot had an alternator over-voltage indication. He reported this to the accident pilot, and the accident pilot indicated he would turn and follow him to McComb, which was about 30 minutes away. As he approached to land at McComb, the accident pilot reported he was behind him, although the friend could not see him. When he was on a one-mile final approach, he told the accident pilot that he was on final. The accident pilot told him to call him when he was on the ground. About two minutes later he called to tell the accident pilot he was on the ground. He did not get a response from the accident pilot. When the accident pilot failed to show up for the musical show in Ocean Springs on the evening of November 16, 2001, the friend reported him missing to an FAA Flight Service Station. Search and rescue operations were initiated and the accident pilot and airplane were located on November 30, 2001, about 1630. Radar data showed N89645 departed Ocean Springs Airport at approximately 0104 and proceeded in a northwesterly direction of approximately 295 degrees. About one minute later, N739LV, piloted by the accident pilot's friend, departed. At about 0112, N739LV passed N89645 at 3,600 feet, 4 miles north of Biloxi, MS. No transponder returns were received from N89645. Both airplanes flew a similar course until 0118:45 when N89645 turned to a course of approximately 320 degrees, at an altitude of 4,000 feet. At 0124:02, N739LV began a series of turns corresponding with the pilot's statement that he was distracted by an alternator problem. At 0127:38, N89645 turned left to a course of about 270 degrees. The airplane was about 10 miles east of Poplarville, Mississippi at 3,600 feet. N739LV flew directly to MCB and landed at about 0158. At 0132:02, N89645 passed two miles southeast of Poplarville at 3,600 feet on a course of approximately 220 degrees. For the next 20 minutes, N89645 descended and made numerous turns within 10 miles of Poplarville, in an area south and southwest of the airport. The last radar return was received at 0153:14, eight miles southeast of Poplarville. Post crash examination of the crash site showed the airplane had collided with a tree, severing the outboard right wing, right horizontal stabilizer, and right main landing gear wheel. The airplane continued 100 feet across a river and crashed on the river bank. All components of the airplane which are neccessary for flight were located at the crash site. Examination of the airplane showed no evidence of pre-crash failure or malfunction of the airplane structure, flight controls, engine, or propeller.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's becoming lost and disoriented and his failure to maintain control of the airplane while flying over an unpopulated area on a dark night, which was the result of spatial disorientation. Factors in the accident was the pilot's consuming alcoholic beverages before the flight and the dark night. Full narrative available
Index for Nov2001 | Index of months