NTSB Identification: CEN09FA178
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 27, 2009 in Albany, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2010
Aircraft: CESSNA 182M, registration: N91593
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 non-instrument rated private pilot planned to attend a skydiving event near the destination airport that began the next day. Prior to departure, the pilot was aware of the low clouds affecting the destination airport. The pilot told an acquaintance at the destination airport that he needed to make the flight that night because of deteriorating weather conditions that were expected on the next day. Marginal visual flight rules (VFR) dark night conditions with occasional misting rain prevailed near the accident scene. Nearby stations reported 10 miles visibility with the bases of broken clouds as low as 1,500 feet with overcast clouds above. Radar data shows the airplane was at a varying altitude of approximately 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) when it began to fly on a meandering course for approximately the last 20 minutes of the flight. The airplane made several turns and descended with the last radar contact at 1,600 feet msl. A witness located about 2 miles south of the accident location said he heard an airplane make several tight turns and estimated the airplane was at 800 to 1,000 feet above him in the clouds when it passed directly overhead. Two to three minutes later he heard the airplane "go to full power" and it sounded like it was "in a dive for about 2 seconds" until he heard the sounds of impact. Radar information and witness account suggested that the pilot may have been disoriented in the marginal VMC flight environment. The airplane was substantially damaged by the impact forces, and subsequent examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have prevented the normal operation of the airplane.

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

The pilot's loss of control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation after an encounter with marginal VMC and/or instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to attempt the flight with the preflight knowledge of deteriorating weather conditions.

Full narrative available

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