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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: LAX89FA111
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42184.
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 14, 1989 in SAFFORD, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA 340A, registration: N8814K
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.

DURING THE NIGHT CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT AT FL250, THE PILOT ELECTED TO LEAVE THE COCKPIT AREA AND MOVE TO THE REAR OF THE AIRCRAFT TO ATTEND TO PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS. ALTHOUGH OXYGEN WAS AVAILABLE IN THE COCKPIT, SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN WAS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE REAR. THE AIRCRAFT WAS OPERATED WITH A KNOWN PRESSURIZATION SYSTEM DEFICIENCY WHICH LIMITED THE AIRPLANE TO FLIGHT TO 17,000 FEET MSL WHILE MAINTAINING A CABIN ALTITUDE OF 10,000 FEET. AFTER 2 HOURS AND 10 MINUTES, ATC DECLARED THE FLIGHT TO BE 'NO RADIO'. AT 3 HOURS AND 57 MINUTES AFTER DEPARTURE, THE AIRPLANE WAS PLOTTED ON RADAR IN A DESCENDING LEFT TURN TO GROUND IMPACT. FUEL STARVATION RESULTED IN POWER LOSS TO THE LEFT ENGINE. PROPELLER SIGNATURES INDICATED POWER ON THE RIGHT PROPELLER AT IMPACT. THE PILOT'S BODY WAS FOUND IN THE AFT CABIN AREA ON THE AFT CABIN BULKHEAD.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • THE PILOT'S POOR JUDGEMENT AND THE RESULTANT HYPOXIA SUSTAINED IN THE UNPRESSURIZED AIRPLANE. FACTORS WERE: THE MALFUNCTIONING PRESSURIZATION SYSTEM AND THE PILOT'S DECISION TO CONTINUE OPERATION WITH THAT KNOWN DISCREPANCY.


Full narrative is not available