NTSB Identification: CHI08FA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 20, 2007 in Warrens, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N1919H
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 air traffic controller who was working the tower position at the departure airport reported that the accident airplane had landed at the airport. Within about 10 - 15 minutes, the pilot departed again. It was dark, and the weather was "just above" visual flight rule (VFR) minimums during the airplane's arrival and departure. The pilot did not file a flight plan. Radar track data indicated that the accident airplane flew about a 131-degree magnetic heading at about 2,500 feet mean sea level (msl) from the departure airport to the airspace near the accident site at the time associated with the accident. The radar track data indicated that the airplane was in a left, descending turn prior to being "lost" from radar contact, consistent with spatial disorientation. The post-crash inspection of the airplane revealed no preexisting anomalies. The accident site bordered an area of instrument flight rule (IFR) conditions, and was within the area with marginal VFR conditions at the time of the accident. Weather data obtained from a reporting station about 100 miles east-northeast of the accident site indicated multiple freezing levels, first at approximately 1,000 feet above ground level (agl) with temperatures below freezing to 1,500 feet, and the second freezing level at approximately 4,746 feet msl.

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

The decision by the pilot to fly into known adverse weather, and the pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation. Contributing factors include the clouds and the night conditions.

Full narrative available

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