NTSB Identification: FTW03LA041
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 17, 2002 in Houston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N4794P
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

When the private pilot scheduled the instructional flight, he stated that he had an ear operation and needed to see how his ears would feel at altitude before he went for an FAA medical certificate. He also stated that he was contemplating doing some aerial photography, and wanted to see how the aerial visibility was from the airplane during turns at altitude. He flew the airplane to an altitude of 9,500 feet msl where he opened the left window, stated that he wanted to check his ears, and requested that the CFI fly the airplane. The private pilot made two request for the CFI to increase the angle of bank. Subsequently, the flight instructor increased the turn to 45-degree bank and started a 300 to 500 foot per minute descent rate. The CFI heard a "noise that sounded like maybe the seat belt hitting the side of the [air]plane" and the CFI looked to his left and saw the private pilot exiting the airplane. The CFI noticed the #1 radio was already tuned to 121.5 MHz (emergency frequency). The CFI notified the controller that the private pilot had exited the airplane. The CFI landed the airplane without incident. Examination of the aircraft restraint system and the left cabin door did not reveal any discrepancies. Evidence and statements obtained by friends and co-workers of the private pilot indicated an ongoing treatment for depression and a recent intent to take his own life by using an aircraft. A note found in the private pilot's vehicle stated in part: "I'm tired of being depressed. I've been this way for almost 2 months. I'm about ready to do anything to stop feeling this way."

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

The dual student's intentional suicide by exiting from the airplane during descent. A contributing factor was the psychological condition of the dual student.

Full narrative available

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