NTSB Identification: WPR11FA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 14, 2010 in Tucson, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/30/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 150J, registration: N60858
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.

A flight instructor, who was located adjacent to the accident site, reported that the commercial glider pilot was conducting his first solo takeoffs and landings as part of his training to obtain an airplane single-engine add-on rating. The instructor stated that the pilot conducted two uneventful takeoffs and landings and, during the third takeoff and approach to landing, everything looked normal. As the airplane was on short final approach for the runway, the flight instructor observed the airplane pitch downward and descend into terrain near the approach end of the runway. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Review of the pilot’s medical records revealed that he had longstanding, significant, untreated hypercholesterolemia. An autopsy on the pilot revealed that he had both “severe” coronary atherosclerotic disease and septal hypertrophy; both conditions put him at substantial risk for acute myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Neither event would be detectable by autopsy; however, it is likely that the pilot experienced a medical emergency and was incapacitated during the accident flight, rendering him unable to maintain airplane control.

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

The pilot's inability to maintain airplane control while on final approach due to undiagnosed cardiac disease, which caused a medical emergency and subsequent pilot incapacitation.

Full narrative available

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