NTSB Identification: MIA07FA083
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 20, 2007 in Cudjoe Key, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/25/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 182Q, registration: N422G
Injuries: 3 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 flight departed Key West, Florida, for Leesburg, Florida, under night, visual meteorological conditions. As the pilot established radio contact with air traffic control (ATC), the airplane entered restricted area R-2916 without clearance, where a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) was on station. ATC attempted to inform the pilot that R-2916 was active. The airplane collided with the aerostat tether at 4,533 feet. According to information obtained from Naval Air Station Key West, the accident airplane departed from Key West international Airport on runway 27, then turned to an easterly heading, and was last seen on radar as it merged with the aerostat. At the time of the accident the airplane had been in radio communications contact with Federal Aviation Administration Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), and according to an official at the Miami ARTCC, the pilot had been informed of the restricted area at Cudjoe Key. A video record from the camera mounted on the TARS flight control building, which monitors the aerostat while aloft, showed the aerostat's position lights operating, and at 2312:55, the video record showed the position lights of the accident airplane as it approached the tether. The video record showed the airplane striking the tether, entering a spin, and descending uncontrolled. Witnesses reported that the airplane collided with the tether, a wing separated, and the airplane tumbled into the water. According to the flight director's log, the log entry directly preceding the accident showed no irregularities. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from an active restricted area, which resulted in the airplane colliding with the tether of an aerostat.

Full narrative available

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