NTSB Identification: ATL02FA043.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 06, 2002 in Atlanta, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N4105W
Injuries: 4 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 recently instrument-rated pilot departed on an instrument flight in instrument meteorological conditions with low ceilings and turbulence. Radar data showed the airplane climbed to the assigned altitude but failed to maintain the assigned heading. Radar data indicated the airplane flew a path that included two wide, constant-rate, 360-degree turns to the right. Air traffic controllers twice reassigned the heading, and the pilot acknowledged the instructions each time. About eight minutes after departure, the pilot reported the airplane was in a spin, and the airplane impacted terrain seconds later in a steep, nose-down attitude less than two miles from the airport. The wreckage was found scattered along a path 200 feet long by 80 feet wide in a wooded area. Fuel was present at the site, and examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction of the engine, airframe, or recovered instruments.

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

The pilot experienced spatial disorientation that resulted in the loss of control.

Full narrative available

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