NTSB Identification: WPR09FA175
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 01, 2009 in Sherwood, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/19/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-22-150, registration: N9996D
Injuries: 2 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.

A witness reported that he was standing in his driveway when he heard an airplane circling overhead, but that he could not see it due to the fog. He estimated that the airplane was about 100 feet above him and that the lateral visibility was about 30 feet. The witness stated that he was looking into the fog when the airplane suddenly appeared, and recalled seeing the wing and a light. The witness estimated that the airplane was in a 90-degree bank angle and struck the ground less than 50 feet from his position. A review of recorded radar data indicated that the airplane maintained a straight track at a level altitude toward the accident area. Its altitude varied slightly over the next few minutes, and then the target began to climb. It reached its peak altitude of 2,400 feet mean sea level (msl), and began a turn to the left as it approached the area of the accident site. The target made turns in a figure-8 pattern, with the altitude varying a few hundred feet, before continuing in a turn to the right and descending, consistent with the pilot being spatially disoriented. The accident site elevation was about 900 feet msl. The closest official weather observation station was 8 nautical miles east of the accident site and its elevation is 200 feet msl. The reported conditions 42 minutes prior to the accident were light rain and mist with broken clouds at 2,100 feet above ground level (agl) and overcast at 2,800 feet agl. The report 18 minutes after the accident reported light rain showers and mist with scattered clouds at 2,600 feet agl and overcast skies at 3,400 feet agl. The temperature/dewpoint for all three reports was 4/3 degrees Celsius. Postaccident investigation identified no mechanical anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot did not have an instrument rating.

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

The pilot’s continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, resulting in spatial disorientation and a loss of control.

Full narrative available

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