NTSB Identification: ATL83FA041
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 19, 1982 in CULPEPPER, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/19/1983
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N555CE
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.

ABOUT 16 MIN AFTER TAKEOFF THE PLT REPORTED TO ARTCC THAT HE HAD LOST THE ARTIFICIAL HORIZON, GYRO & VACUUM PUMP. RADIO & RADAR CONTACT WAS LOST SHORTLY THEREAFTER. EXAMINATION OF THE VACUUM PUMP FAILED TO REVEAL A PRE-IMPACT FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION. THE ACFT WAS EQUIPPED WITH A PIPER ALTIMATIC III AUTOPILOT WHICH PROVIDES A BACK-UP SYSTEM ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT OF BOTH THE DIRECTIONAL GYRO & ATTITUDE GYRO, & THE VACUUM SYSTEM. SHOULD THESE FAIL, BY DISENGAGING THE ROLL & PITCH OF THE AUTOPILOT & PLACING THE TOGGLE SWITCH OF THE "AUTOFLITE" (BACK-UP SYSTEM) TO THE ON POSITION, THE ALL ELECTRIC AUTOFLITE WILL TAKE OVER & CONTROL THE ROLL AXIS OF THE ACFT. THE ACFT WAS ALSO REPORTEDLY EQUIPPED WITH AN ELECTRIC TURN COORDINATOR OR TURN & SLIP INDICATOR.

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

AIRCRAFT HANDLING..UNCONTROLLED..PILOT IN COMMAND


Contributing Factors

VACUUM SYSTEM..FAILURE,TOTAL


Contributing Factors

VACUUM SYSTEM..UNDETERMINED


Contributing Factors

WEATHER CONDITION..LOW CEILING


Contributing Factors

AUTOPILOT..NOT USED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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