NTSB Identification: NYC04FA123.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 15, 2004 in Willoughby, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Cessna 310R, registration: N3161M
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.

The pilot departed from runway 23 in night instrument metrological conditions, for an instrument flight rules flight. At 0521:21, the pilot radioed to air traffic control that he was climbing through 900 feet, for 4,000 feet. At 0521:44, radar data indicated the airplane was at 1,000 feet, heading 232 degrees, and at a ground speed of 145 knots. During the next 45 seconds, the airplane turned about 15 degrees, climbed to an altitude of at least 1,900 feet, and had slowed to a ground speed of 121 knots, before radar contact was lost. Several witnesses reported hearing the sound of a "low" "loud" airplane, followed by an explosion. One witness observed the airplane about tree top level as it descended toward the ground. He noticed a bluish-green, red light illuminated and stated that he did not observe any smoke or fire coming from the airplane. The airplane impacted railroad tracks that were located about 2 1/2 miles southwest of the departure airport. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. During the 6 months prior to the accident, the pilot had accumulated about 460 hours of total flight experience, which included about 225 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. In addition, during that time, the pilot had logged about 25 hours of flight time under "actual" instrument meteorological conditions. A weather observation taken at an airport located about 16 miles south-southwest of the accident site reported: winds from 270 degrees at 11 knots; visibility 2 1/2 statue miles in rain and mist, ceiling 700 feet broken, temperature 61 degrees F, dew point 57 degrees F, altimeter 30.09 in/hg. A witness near the accident site described the weather as dark and hazy, with a "misty rain."

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during the initial climb after takeoff. Factors in this accident were clouds and the night conditions.

Full narrative available

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