NTSB Identification: ATL03FA010.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 25, 2002 in Greensboro, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Cessna R182, registration: N4629S
Injuries: 3 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 an approach into Smith Reynolds Airport, Winston Salem, North Carolina, the pilot declared an emergency due to disorientation and conducted a missed approach. The pilot made two unsuccessful attempts to land at Smith Reynolds Airport, and then diverted to Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU). While enroute to RDU the pilot was concerned about his fuel supply and decided to divert to Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina. While the airplane was being radar vectored for the runway 23-localizer radar contact was lost, and the airplane collided with the ground. Examination of the wreckage site revealed the airplane came to rest in a heavily wooded and swampy area near the outer marker. The main fuselage was buried in approximately 10 feet of mud and water in a nose down attitude with the horizontal and vertical stabilizers protruding above the ground. The accident site was approximately 25 feet in diameter, and all flight control surfaces were located at the site. The pilot did not report any flight control or mechanical abnormalities. The 1254 weather observation for Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, reported winds zero four zero at seven knots, visibility one half statue mile, mist, one hundred overcast, temperature 11 degrees, dew point 11degrees, altimeter 30.22 inches. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular #60-4A: during periods of low visibility a pilot is particularly vulnerable to spatial disorientation.

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

The pilot experienced spatial disorientation, which resulted in a loss of control and the subsequent collision with the ground. Factors were low ceilings and fog.

Full narrative available

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