NTSB Identification: LAX06FA130.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 19, 2006 in Kingman, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2007
Aircraft: Beech F33A, registration: N41PT
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 collided with a mountain located between the departure and destination airports during a night cross-country flight that included an encounter with instrument meteorological conditions. There was no indication that the noninstrument rated private pilot had ever flown over the accident route, which consisted of flat terrain interspersed with mountains, prior to the accident flight. The pilot utilized his global positioning satellite (GPS) unit for navigation purposes, and reportedly was very comfortable using it. Recorded radar data was used to track the flight from departure to near the accident site. The majority of the radar returns were uniformly spaced and followed an anticipated track towards the destination airport. Radar returns revealed a gradual increase in altitude over about a 9-minute duration, from 6,500 feet mean sea level (msl), until radar contact was lost at 9,100 feet msl. The last radar return was about 0.62 nm from the accident location. The accident site was located on a mountain side at an elevation of 5,450 feet. Analysis of weather data disclosed that the cloud bases were near 5,100 feet, and the tops above 11,000 feet msl. The freezing level was about 6,000 feet msl, with light to moderate icing likely above the freezing level. Satellite imagery was reviewed around the time of the accident, and disclosed that an extensive area of overcast skies existed in the vicinity of the accident site. The wreckage and the ground scars were consistent with a high speed descending flight path. During postaccident examinations, investigators found no anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The noninstrument rated pilot's cruise flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his failure to maintain control of the airplane, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent, and an in-flight collision with terrain. Factors associated with the accident are clouds/obscuration, the pilot's spatial disorientation, and his inadequate in-flight planning and decision making. Full narrative available
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