NTSB Identification: NYC02FA106.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 30, 2002 in Pleasant Mount, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N1577B
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 aircraft was at cruise flight at 11,000 feet with an instrument rated private pilot and passenger aboard. Thunderstorms and convective activity were in the area. The pilot elected to continue toward the weather, and requested to deviate around it, but did not specify a direction. After receiving permission for the deviation, the airplane first turned left while maintaining altitude, and then turned right greater than 90 degrees, and descended. The last radar contact was at 9,300 feet, after which radio and radar contact was lost. Witnesses on the ground observed the airplane in a descent estimated to be between 30 and 45 degrees nose down, below the base of the clouds, and could hear the engine operating. The witnesses observed the airplane come apart, while operating clear of clouds. One witness reported the descent started to shallow just prior to the airplane coming apart. The debris trail to the impact crater was 1,033 feet long, and it extended an additional 486 feet beyond the impact crater. The horizontal stabilizer and wings had downward bending on their spars. One propeller blade was found in the main impact crater, separated from the propeller hub, with "S" bending on the leading and trailing edges of the blade.

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

The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision resulting in flight into adverse weather, and his failure to maintain aircraft control, resulting in overstress of the aircraft. A factor was the thunderstorm activity.

Full narrative available

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