NTSB Identification: CEN10LA216
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 19, 2010 in Madison, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/18/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N5425P
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A witness to the accident said that the he heard the airplane’s engine "rev up" then saw the airplane pitch up, roll to the right into an inverted position, and nose dive toward the ground. Impact evidence showed that the airplane struck the ground in a near vertical attitude at a high rate of speed. Postaccident examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact malfunctions or failures; however, the amount of destruction to the airplane precluded a comprehensive determination of its preimpact condition. Review of the pilot’s medical history revealed that over the few weeks before the accident, the pilot had developed neurologic symptoms, including increasing memory problems. During a doctor’s visit, he reported at least one acute episode where he felt confused and had some instability or balance problems. The exact cause of these symptoms and their degree was not determined because a thorough medical evaluation was not completed before the accident. In addition, toxicological test results showed that the pilot had been taking sedating medications that could impair his mental and/or physical ability. The medications were not approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for pilots’ use, and the pilot did not report using them to the FAA.

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. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to conduct the flight with known physiological impairment and his use of unapproved sedating medication, both of which likely impaired his ability to operate the airplane.

Full narrative available

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