NTSB Identification: CHI05LA261.
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Accident occurred Friday, September 09, 2005 in Faulkton, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N8523W
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 airplane was destroyed when it impacted the ground after departing an airport into instrument meteorological conditions at night. The airplane came to rest about 0.6 miles from the departure end of the runway. A fuel truck driver reported that he was called by local authorities about 0210 and informed that there was an airplane at the airport in need of fuel. He stated that he responded and serviced the airplane with 22 gallons of unleaded automotive fuel. He stated that as he was leaving the airport, he saw a small white light heading down the runway. A sheriff's dispatcher reported that she had received a call at 0210 from the pilot saying that he was "out of gas and trying to get home." She stated that she called a gasoline supplier who said that he would go to the airport. She stated that the supplier later called to inform her that he had given the pilot 22 gallons of "regular gas" and that the pilot was made aware that it was "regular gas." She stated that at 0300, she looked out of the west jail windows and noted that it was very foggy and she could only see 2 city blocks. Another witness also reported foggy conditions in the area at the time of the accident. The pilot did not have an instrument rating or a current medical certificate. A weather report for the nearest reporting facility indicated reduced visibility. The moon had set and did not rise again until the following afternoon. No pre impact anomalies were found with respect to the airplane.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation during initial climb after takeoff into night instrument meteorological conditions. Factors were the fog and the dark night.

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