NTSB Identification: NYC07FA088.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 28, 2007 in Howell, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N33521
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 was conducting a local flight in good weather, when he radioed air traffic control (ATC), to request a vector to his home airport. At the time, the airplane was about 10 miles southwest of the home airport, heading away from the airport, and the pilot was lost and disoriented. The controller provided the pilot with a position report and a vector to the pilot's airport; however, the pilot subsequently flew erratically at low altitudes and did not respond to calls by ATC several times. The airplane then impacted a wooded area. The pilot had a history of multiple severe medical conditions, and was at high risk for a stroke, having had a previous transient ischemic attack (TIA) (mini-stroke). A TIA or stroke could reasonably account for the pilot's disorientation and confusion just prior to the accident. Although the autopsy did not discover any evidence of stroke, such evidence would only be seen if the pilot had a completed stroke and lived long enough for changes in the brain to become apparent (usually several hours at the least). It is most likely that the pilot's disorientation and confusion immediately prior to the accident were consistent with a stroke or a transient ischemic attack. None of the pilot's severe medical conditions or the medications he was taking was reported to the FAA during the pilot's most recent application for a third class medical certificate. Had they been reported, the certificate would have been denied. The pilot's personal physician believed that the pilot had not been flying as a pilot for at least 5 years. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper decision to attempt a flight with known serious medical conditions, which resulted in impairment during cruise flight, likely due to a stroke or transient ischemic attack. A factor was the pilot providing false information on his medical application. Full narrative available
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