NTSB Identification: CEN13FA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 14, 2012 in Simpson, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/24/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172R, registration: N2126R
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 pilot departed on a night cross-country flight. When he did not reach his destination, the flight was reported missing and the wreckage was found the following day. Recorded radar data revealed that, after departure, the airplane climbed for about 15 minutes, maneuvered, then made a descending right turn between two areas of precipitation. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot did not have a current medical certificate. According to his personal medical records, he had a history of hypertension, insomnia, and inflammatory arthritis. About a month before the accident, the pilot reported symptoms from his arthritis, including increased joint pain and stiffness, to his personal physician and received treatment. Ten days later, the pilot called his physician’s office for a refill of his narcotic pain medication. Toxicology testing of tissue samples found zolpidem and hydrocodone, both of which carry a warning of mental and/or physical impairment. However, the extent to which the pilot’s medical conditions and his use of potentially impairing medications may have affected his judgment or psychomotor functioning cannot be determined from available evidence.

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

The pilot’s loss of airplane control while maneuvering between areas of precipitation during a night cross-country flight.

Full narrative available

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