NTSB Identification: LAX06FA099.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 01, 2006 in Buckeye, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/30/2007
Aircraft: Beechcraft F33A, registration: N1563A
Injuries: 1 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.
After crossing flight paths with a military fighter jet, the single engine airplane entered an increasingly steep descent and subsequently impacted terrain. The solo student pilot departed the airport and proceeded to climb towards a designated practice area. Upon reaching 4,500 feet the pilot reduced power and entered a 500-foot-per-minute descent. At this point the pilot may have been alerted by the on-board TCAS (traffic/collision alerting device) that there was traffic approaching from her right side, close to her altitude. The sun was also off her right side at an elevation of 31 degrees above the horizon. Within seconds an F-16 fighter jet crossed in front of her from right to left. The closest point of approach between the two aircraft, as determined by a radar data study, was 1,850 feet laterally and 400 feet vertically. A study of the wake and vortex turbulence that would have been produced by the F-16 determined that the generated vortices could not have dropped low enough to affect the path of the student's airplane. After the F-16 passed, the student's airplane continued an increasingly steep linear descent, eventually exceeding 2,500 feet per minute before impacting the terrain at a 50-degree nose down, right wing down attitude, 29 seconds after the encounter. Multiple close examinations of the aircraft wreckage failed to reveal any evidence of mechanical failure or malfunction. A review of the student's available medical records, autopsy, and toxicology analysis did not reveal any physiological inconsistencies. It is certainly possible (and consistent with the circumstances of the accident) that the student pilot lost consciousness following her presumed near collision; however, there is not enough information available to fully support this hypothesis.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The student pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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