NTSB Identification: ATL05FA008.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 23, 2004 in Flat Rock, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Beech F33A, registration: N18303
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.

Review of records revealed the pilot was cleared for departure, and at 0942 radar contact was established with the airplane, and the pilot was instructed to turn left direct Sugarloaf VOR. Witnesses estimated the weather to be 200-300 feet overcast with 1 1/2 miles visibility in fog. At 0945, radar contact was lost with the airplane. Examination of the wreckage site revealed the downed airplane was located approximately four miles east from the Hendersonville Airport, at the base of a hill in a nose down attitude. All flight control surfaces, flight controls, engine and propeller were located at the site. Post accident examination of the engine revealed the crankshaft was rotated and valve train movement was confirmed to all of the cylinders, oil pump, and pistons. The three propeller blades displayed chord-wise scoring, and the blades were bent aft. The left and right wing assemblies were attached to the fuselage and crush damaged. The cockpit and empennage was crushed damaged. The vertical and horizontal flight surfaces and controls were crush damaged. From Advisory Circular 61-23C (Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge), revised 1997: Chapter 9 - Spatial Disorientation and Illusions in Flight Many different illusions can be experienced in flight. Some can lead to spatial disorientation. Others can lead to landing errors. Illusions rank among the most common factors cited as contributing to fatal aircraft accidents. Various complex motions and forces and certain visual scenes encountered in flight can create illusions of motion and position. Spatial disorientation from these illusions can be prevented only by visual reference to reliable, fixed points on the ground or to flight instruments. The most overwhelming of all illusions in flight may be prevented by not making sudden, extreme head movements, particularly while making prolonged constant-rate turns under instrument flight rule instrument conditions.

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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