NTSB Identification: CHI05FA081.
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Accident occurred Saturday, March 26, 2005 in West Lafayette, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-200, registration: N999SK
Injuries: 2 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 complex airplane, piloted by a non-instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain during initial climbout. A witness stated, "I noted a low-wing aircraft departing Runway10. The weather conditions were wind 090 at 9 knots, 5 miles visibility, mist, ceiling 600 feet overcast. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary and I didn't hear or see anything else of the plane. Before I departed from Runway 10 ..., I was talking with Chicago Center, requesting my clearance. They said that they had a plane crash reported and asked if I would advise them if I saw anything. Both my passenger and myself looked after we were airborne, but saw nothing before we entered the clouds." The police department received a call of a low flying airplane and subsequently found the airplane impacted in terrain in a wooded area about 1.5 miles north of the airport. The pilot's logbook did not contain an endorsement for complex and high performance airplanes. An on-scene investigation revealed no preimpact anomalies were detected with the airframe and engine. The Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report on the pilot, in part, stated, "132 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Blood, 110 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Brain, 196 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ETHANOL detected in Heart." The CAMI report indicated that putrefaction had occurred. A witness reported the pilot stated that he was "getting a little tipsy", he left a tavern at approximately 0336 hours, and then went to a restaurant. The airplane was flown without prior arrangements with the management of the FBO. The pilot was a prior employee of the FBO and knew where the airplane keys were stored. The employee on duty at the time was not aware that the pilot did not make prior arrangements and was on the FBO's no-fly list. Subsequent to the accident, a representative of the FBO reported that the FBO instituted additional procedures to secure the keys. FAA regulation part 91.17 Alcohol or drugs, in part, stated, "(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft -- (1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage; (2) While under the influence of alcohol; (3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or (4) While having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood. (b) Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that aircraft." FAA regulation part 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command, in part, stated, "(a) General experience. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crewmember unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days."

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

The pilot's inadvertent flight into instrument conditions and his not maintaining control of the complex airplane during initial climb. Factors in the accident were the low ceiling, the early dawn condition, and the pilots intentional unauthorized use of the airplane.

Full narrative available

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