NTSB Identification: FTW02FA233.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 12, 2002 in Ithaca, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N49998
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.

During low level maneuvering, the airplane impacted corn stalks and terrain in a 30-degree nose down attitude. Witnesses stated the pilot rented the airplane for a local flight. One witness noticed the pilot had not preflighted the airplane, and then sat in the airplane for approximately 30 minutes prior to departure. According to recorded radar data, a target was depicted departing the airport area and proceeding to the north. The target had executed a series of turns between an altitude of 1,600 and 1,800 feet msl before disappearing. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that could have prevented normal flight operations. A local law enforcement official stated the pilot was the subject of an on-going criminal investigation. Numerous people who knew the pilot reported to the official that the pilot would kill himself by intentionally crashing an airplane before he would go to jail.

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

The pilot's intentional flight of the airplane into terrain in an act of suicide.

Full narrative available

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