NTSB Identification: ATL82FA066
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 28, 1982 in BRADLEY, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/1983
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N38540
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.

BEFORE TAKEOFF, THE PILOT TELEPHONED HIS BROTHER IN NORTH CAROLINA AND ASKED ABOUT THE WEATHER. HE WAS TOLD THAT THERE WAS AN OVERCAST. THE PILOT REPLIED THAT HE WOULD "COME ON AND SKIRT THE MOUNTAINS." NO FLIGHT PLAN WAS FILED AND THERE WAS NO FAA RECORD OF A WEATHER BRIEFING. THE AIRCRAFT CRASHED ABOUT 130 MILES WEST OF A STRAIGHT LINE BETWEEN THE DEPARTURE POINT AND THE DESTINATION. TWO KNOWN WITNESSES HEARD THE AIRCRAFT BEFORE IT CRASHED. ONE DESCRIBED THE ENGINE SOUND AS INCREASING IN PITCH AND THEN DYING. HE DESCRIBED THE SOUND AS SIMILAR TO A MODEL AIRCRAFT FLYING IN A CIRCLE. THE OTHER WITNESS REPORTED THAT THE ENGINE STOPPED AND STARTED THREE TIMES. HE ALSO ESTIMATED THE CEILING AS VERY LOW AND THE VISIBILITY AS VERY POOR. AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRASH SITE REVEALED THAT THE RIGHT WING TIP HAD SEPARATED AND HAD COME TO REST AT A DISTANCE FROM THE MAIN WRECKAGE. THE LOWER WING SKIN FAILED IN TENSION AND THE TOP SKIN WAS TORN AND DEFORMED UPWARD. THE PROPELLER HAD SEPARATED AND WAS CURLED & BENT.

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

VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC..CONTINUED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

IN-FLIGHT PLANNING/DECISION..IMPROPER..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

SPATIAL DISORIENTATION..PILOT IN COMMAND

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

DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF AIRCRAFT..EXCEEDED..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..CLOUDS


Contributing Factors

PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION..INADEQUATE..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

LACK OF TOTAL INSTRUMENT TIME..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WING..OVERLOAD


Contributing Factors

LACK OF FAMILIARITY WITH AIRCRAFT..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

WING..SEPARATION


Contributing Factors

TERRAIN CONDITION..MOUNTAINOUS/HILLY

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