NTSB Identification: CEN12FA082
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 23, 2011 in West Milton, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: BEECH 23, registration: N8700M
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.

The non-instrument-rated pilot was conducting the accident flight under visual flight rules without a flight plan in dark, night, instrument meteorological conditions. Radar data depicted that shortly after departure, the airplane performed a series of multi-directional turns at varying altitudes. Several witnesses observed or heard the airplane over their residences complete several turns at a low altitude. Based on the erratic flight of the airplane, the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the low visibility present at the time of the accident, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Local law enforcement officers who responded to the accident site reported the clouds were about 700 feet above ground level when they arrived at the accident site. There is no record of the accident pilot receiving an official or "unofficial" weather briefing before departure. Federal Aviation Administration guidance indicated that spatial disorientation can occur when there is no natural horizon or surface reference, such as night flight in sparsely populated areas similar to that of the accident area and conditions.

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

The non-instrument-rated pilot's decision to attempt a flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control of the airplane.

Full narrative available

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