NTSB Identification: MIA05FA085.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 30, 2005 in Venice, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2006
Aircraft: Commander 114-B, registration: N60204
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 airplane crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, southwest of the departure end of runway 22, at the Venice Municipal Airport, Venice, Florida, in night visual meteorological conditions. During initial climb as the airplane took off and flew over the water, several witnesses were in the vicinity of a pier near a restaurant. The witnesses said they could hear the engine operating overhead, and that the airplane banked, and descended rapidly impacting the water with the engine operating. One of the witness on the pier at the restaurant stated that when the airplane was taking off from the departure end of runway 22, the sound of the engine drew his attention. He said that the engine was "sputtering, popping, and missing," and momentarily went to full power just prior to the airplane impacting the water. Sections of the airplane were later recovered, to include a section from the baggage compartment aft to the tail, the left and right horizontal stabilizer, the rudder, the right spar, the fuselage cabin belly along with the instrument panel, engine and propeller, and the right wing bladder. All sections of the airplane had incurred damage consistent with the impact and with salvage efforts, and when examined, no evidence of preaccident anomalies were noted. The pilot possessed an FAA private pilot certificate, with an airplane single-engine land rating, and according to his logbooks he had accumulated about 258.1 hours total time, 122.9 hours as pilot-in-command, 50.1 hours of simulated instrument total time, and 5.7 hours of night flight experience. A flight instructor with whom the pilot had recently trained revealed that the pilot had accumulated an additional 34.4 hours instrument flight training not recorded in his logbook. FAA records did not show that the pilot possessed an instrument rating.

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

The pilot's in-flight loss of control during takeoff/initial climb over the water at night due to spatial disorientation. A related factor was the night conditions.

Full narrative available

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