NTSB Identification: ERA09FA377
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 05, 2009 in Huntington, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/11/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 400, registration: N207JB
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.

The instrument-rated private pilot, departed the airport on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan under daytime instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) with overcast clouds 800 feet (ft) above ground level. The airport elevation was 828 feet mean sea level (msl). Radar data showed the airplane climbed to an altitude of 1,500 ft mean sea level (msl), before initiating a right-hand turn as the pilot had been instructed. The pilot's communications with air traffic control were routine until he failed to acknowledge the controller's instruction to continue the turn and to climb to 5,000 ft msl. Radar data showed that the airplane climbed to 2,300 ft msl, turned left, and started to descend. Radar contact was lost after the plane descended below 2,200 ft msl. The airplane struck trees 3.5 miles south of the airport at an elevation of 850 ft msl, and was in a left wing low 50 degree nose down pitch attitude during the impact sequence. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and the propeller showed impact damage consistent with operating at high power. Based on the observed weather in the area, the pilot would have been in IMC shortly after initiating his right-hand turn. The IMC flight conditions, radar track, power settings, and impact attitude are consistent with the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation.

Full narrative available

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