NTSB Identification: CHI05FA020.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 29, 2004 in Downing, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Beech A36, registration: N55448
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.

The airplane piloted by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain and post impact fire. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The pilot established radio communications with the air traffic controller on duty at an Air Route Traffic Control Center's radar position about 2027. The controller gave the pilot the position's current altimeter setting. The air traffic controller observed the flight enter an area of weather. At about 2036, an air traffic controller advised the pilot that radar contact was lost. The pilot did not respond. No further radio communications were established with the flight. A witness, who was a commercial pilot, stated, "Aircraft spun out of clouds, began recovery, hit the ground, [and] burst of flame immediately." The flight's National Track Analysis Program radar data was plotted on Doppler weather radar base reflectivity depictions. That plotted data showed that the airplane entered an area of weather consistent with level three to level four thunderstorm activity. Surface weather observations showed VFR weather was present. An on-scene examination was performed. A gyro and its housing from a flight instrument were examined. That examination revealed rotational scoring. The turn coordinator was found destroyed. The face from the turn coordinator showed the airplane in a right bank turn. A section of right wing tip was found near a ground scar. The navigation light on that wingtip contained a green media. The left wing was found detached from the fuselage. Control cables were traced. All breaks in control cables were consistent with overload. No airframe or engine pre-impact anomalies were detected.

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

The pilot not maintaing airplane control during cruise flight. Factors present were night and thunderstorm conditions.

Full narrative available

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