NTSB Identification: CEN13FA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 01, 2012 in San Marcos, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/12/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 320E, registration: N10PM
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 fixed-base operator employee observed the pilot preflight his twin-engine airplane and then pulled the pilot’s airplane from the hangar. The employee gave the pilot directions to runway 17 but was unable to see him taxi to that location because of fog. The non-instrument-rated pilot subsequently took off in night instrument meteorological conditions with visibility less than 2 1/2 miles. The airplane crashed less than 1 mile south of the airport shortly after takeoff and witnesses saw and heard the resultant explosion. Video footage of the accident revealed that the airplane impacted the ground in a 45-degree nose-down attitude. Examination of the airplane and engines did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Based on the wreckage distribution, low visibility, and the pilot’s lack of an instrument rating, the accident is consistent with the pilot’s loss of control due to spatial disorientation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The non-instrument-rated pilot’s decision to takeoff in night instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in spatial disorientation and a loss of control. Full narrative available
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