NTSB Identification: ATL03FA041.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 06, 2003 in Florence, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5587P
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 a cross-country instrument flight at 5,300 feet the pilot radioed that he was having difficulty maintaining altitude. The air traffic controller reported the lost of radar and radio contact with the airplane at 1853. Local authorities were notified, and launched a ground and air search for the downed airplane. The airplane wreckage was located in a wooded area at 0815 on February 7, 2003. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any airframe or mechanical malfunctions. 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. A factors was dark night and clouds.

Full narrative available

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