NTSB Identification: CHI02FA193.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 18, 2002 in Lee's Summit, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N5164L
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 airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain and a single family home adjacent to the departure airport after the pilot took off into instrument meteorological conditions. The airplane was seen descending out of these conditions in a steep right turn over the airport. The non-instrument rated pilot had a total flight time of 228 hours over the past seven years, of which 7.4 hours were in the past year, 4.1 hours were in the past 90 days, and 0 hours were in the past 30 days.

The pilot had been under treatment for multiple chronic painful conditions, and had been prescribed tramadol as a primary treatment for those conditions. The medication was found at a level several times higher than the maximum expected from the dose prescribed to the pilot. Tramadol is a prescription narcotic-like painkiller used for the management of moderate to severe pain. Common side effects of tramadol include dizziness and sleepiness, and at least one study has noted a decrease in complex task performance with the use of the drug. The pilot had also been treated for anxiety and depression. He withheld information regarding treatment for these conditions from the Federal Aviation Administration and was issued a third class medical certificate.

Examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies which would have precluded normal operation.

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

The inadequate preflight planning/preparation, the flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and lack of instrument certification by the pilot. Contributing factors were fog/clouds and the pilot's nondisclosure of his physical condition to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Full narrative available

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