NTSB Identification: MIA02FA102.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, May 29, 2002 in Conway, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Beech F33A, registration: N858KS
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.

On the day of the accident about 25 minutes before the flight departed the pilot phoned the Raleigh AFSS, and filed his IFR flight plan. During the phone call the briefing specialist (specialist) asked the pilot if he had Convective Sigmet 47E, which was covered the departure airport and was issued approximately 10 minutes earlier. The pilot advised the specialist he had the information about the sigmet, but he did not need any weather services. There was no record that the pilot obtained a preflight weather briefing from the 2 DUAT vendors. Additionally, the departure airport had a computer with access to weather but it does not record who accessed the computer and there was no records found in the wreckage associated with the computer printout. The flight departed, and shortly after takeoff air traffic control communications were transferred from the air traffic control tower to Myrtle Beach Air Traffic Control Tower. The pilot established contact with that facility and the controller questioned why the pilot was deviating without clearance. The controller asked the pilot if he could accept a northerly heading and he advised he could not. The controller vectored the pilot to fly a south-southwesterly heading for traffic which the pilot acknowledged. The controller then advised the pilot that after climbing through 2,600 feet to resume his own navigation. The flight then proceeded on a northwesterly heading where radar plots indicate that at the altitude flown, the flight encountered VIP Level 5 (intense) echoes. The airplane was observed on radar in a right descending turn and crashed into a wooded area. The average rate of descent was calculated to be 4,085 feet-per-minute. A search for the airplane was initiated and it was located the following morning. The airplane was equipped with a stormscope and a moving map display with monochromatic weather depiction. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of in-flight break-up. All major structural components were located in the immediate vicinity of the accident site. The flaps were nearly retracted and the landing gear was retracted. Examination of the flight control system for roll, pitch, and yaw revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Examination of the engine and propeller revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. No specimens were available for a FAA Toxicology screen. Examination of the vacuum pump which was impact damaged revealed the drive coupling was not failed.

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

The failure of the pilot to request in-flight weather avoidance assistance and his poor in-flight planning/decision for flying into a Level 5 thunderstorm resulting in an in-flight loss of control, uncontrolled descent, and subsequent in-flight collision with trees and terrain.

Full narrative available

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