NTSB Identification: MIA05LA083.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 28, 2005 in Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 172S, registration: N53589
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

the instructional flight encountered turbulence while en route to the airport. According to the flight instructor/pilot the flight consisting of him and his student had progressed under visual meteorological conditions (VMC) until reaching the Palm Beach area, at which time an area of clouds were noted. He said that upon querying the Palm Beach Approach controller, with whom he was speaking, he was informed that Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) had been vectoring traffic through a "break" in the clouds. The instructor said that he received a radio communications handoff from Palm Beach Approach to Miami ARTCC, and on initial contact with Miami ARTCC, the Miami ARTCC controller provided a heading to steer, which he complied with. The controller did not provide weather intensity information. As the flight proceeded along the assigned heading, the pilot said he encountered rain, and turbulence, so he elected to make a 180-degree turn, and exit the precipitation. While performing the turn he said the airplane encountered a downdraft, with an immediate decrease of about 2,000 feet, followed by increased turbulence. In the course of the turbulence encounter he said that the airplane door hinge pins fractured, and the passenger side window detached from the airplane and impacted the right side horizontal stabilizer. The pilot said he declared an emergency, and subsequently landed at Palm Beach International Airport, Palm Beach, Florida, without further incident. At the time of the accident, the accident airplane was inside PBI's airspace but under control of Miami ARTCC. Miami ARTCC is equipped with digital weather display capability that is designated to show levels 2 through 6 on the VIP scale. FAA order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control," paragraph 2-6-4, "Weather and Chaff Services," states that controllers shall issue the level of echo intensity when that information is available.

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

The flight crews inadvertent encounter with turbulence in clouds while being vectored by ATC while operating in instrument meteorological conditions. A factor in the accident was the ATC personnel's (ARTCC) inadequate weather avoidance assistance.

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