NTSB Identification: DEN08FA100
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 05, 2008 in Gothenburg, NE
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2008
Aircraft: Extra Flugzeugbau EA 300/L, registration: N12XT
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 non-instrument rated private pilot was traveling cross-country to perform in an aerobatics competition. The airplane was not equipped to fly in instrument weather conditions. During the pilot's telephone weather briefing with flight service on the morning of the accident, he was informed of an AIRMET for areas of ceilings less than 1,000 feet and visibility less than three miles along his intended route of flight. He was also informed of areas of thunderstorms forming along a warm front near his location. At the time of departure, weather at LBF was reported as overcast at 900 feet, 10 miles visibility and thunderstorms in the immediate vicinity. Radar data showed the airplane flying erratically with several large heading and altitude changes during the last three minutes of flight. A private pilot witness 3.6 miles from the accident site saw the airplane fly over his home. He said there was a "wet" fog with visibility of about three miles and the pilot was rocking his wings back and forth. The pilot lost visual references outside due to low visibility and the airplane entered a spin and impacted terrain. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The parachute equipped pilot did not attempt to egress the airplane. Marijuana was found in the pilot's luggage and toxicological testing found the presence of marihuana in the pilot's blood, urine, lungs and liver. The levels of marijuana found in the pilot indicate he had used marihuana within three hours prior to the accident and was likely impaired by its effects.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control after encountering instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's recent usage of Marihuana, his impaired judgement and decision making, and the low visibility weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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