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 noninstrument-rated private pilot was on a night solo cross-country flight at 2,600 feet in radio contact with Jacksonville approach. The airplane was subsequently observed by the controller on radar at 2,000 feet, heading 013 degrees, 112 knots at 0245:24. At 0245:57, the airplane was observed on radar at 1200 feet, heading 051 degrees, and the ground speed had increased to 124 knots. The pilot stated at 0245:58, 'I haven't any direction finder I don't see anything one six ro.' At 0246:28, radar contact was lost. The pilot had recorded as logged 1 hour of night pilot-in-command flight time. All simulated instrument time was dual instruction. The moon set at 2159 with only 1 percent illumination.