NTSB Identification: MIA05FA028.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 14, 2004 in Dubbs, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N56960
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 pilot of N56960 had initiated contact with Memphis Approach Control requesting permission to transit the Memphis Class B airspace. A controller stated that he radar identified the flight at 7,500 feet, and instructed the pilot to change frequencies but no reply was received. Two witnesses stated that they observed the airplane flying above them from south to north, the engine was making a "funny" noise, and all of a sudden the airplane spiraled downward with parts coming off of it. The main wreckage was located in a rural farm area and aircraft-related debris was spread over a length of 0.83 nautical miles from north-northwest to south-southeast, beginning with the right aileron and ending with the fuselage/main wreckage. The NTSB conducted a weather study and about the time of the accident, cloud bases were near 3,000 feet, and cloud tops were above 7,500 feet, with multiple cloud layers present, and visibilities of 0 miles in clouds, and greater than 3 miles below the lowest cloud. FAA records did not indicate that the pilot possessed an instrument rating. Examination of the engine and accessories revealed no evidence of any precrash anomalies. In addition, the NTSB Materials Laboratory conducted detailed examinations of the fracture surfaces pertaining to the left and right wings' forward and aft spars, as well as sections of the empennage, and all fracture surfaces were consistent with overstress.

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his in-flight loss of control, resulting in overstress of the airframe and subsequent structural failure.

Full narrative available

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