NTSB Identification: SEA07FA012.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 24, 2006 in Escalante, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/30/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N9179D
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.

The pilot departed for a night positioning cross-country flight over very sparsely populated country. The flight progressed into a weather frontal system with light to heavy rain. Radar data and an onboard handheld GPS receiver show the aircraft spiraling to the left and accelerating to a high rate of speed until impact. The following morning, a helicopter was sent to the last radar return, and found the downed aircraft. It was fragmented, and the engine was found 1,200 feet from its initial impact point. The pilot had approximately 480 hours of flight experience, with no actual instrument-meteorological-condition (IMC) flying experience. He had approximately 15 hours of night flying, most of which was flown between 22 to 24 months before the accident flight. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact anomalies which might have affected the airplane's flight performance.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of experience of flying on instruments on a dark night and in rainy weather.

Full narrative available

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