Flight into IMC fatal for pilot

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The non-instrument-rated pilot was on a cross-country flight in a Cessna 210. Earlier on the morning of the accident, he diverted from his intended destination airport because of poor weather there.

After waiting at the diversion airport for about 1.5 hours, he decided to attempt the 35-mile flight to the destination airport. During taxi, he called a friend to ask about weather conditions close to the destination airport, and the friend advised the pilot that “pretty low clouds” existed.

He departed and remained at a low altitude until about 3 minutes before the accident, when air traffic control radar captured the airplane’s altitude at 800 feet above ground level (agl).

During the last minute of recorded data, the plane made a climbing left turn of about 90° from an altitude of 1,000 to 2,100 feet and slowed from a groundspeed of 144 to 106 knots.

A witness near the accident site in Bradley, S.D., heard what sounded to be an airplane climbing and descending twice, which was followed by the sound of a “loud bang.”

The airplane hit terrain with a nose-down attitude at high speed, and a post-crash fire ensued. The pilot died in the crash.

Post-accident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Even though the available evidence indicated that the pilot did not request a weather briefing or receive weather information from a vendor, he should have known, before the start of the flight, that instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) would likely exist near his destination based on the information that his friend provided.

The weather conditions at the closest official reporting station to the accident site at the time of the accident indicated a 500-foot cloud ceiling and reduced visibility due to mist. AIRMETs indicated that instrument flight rules conditions existed. This information confirmed that the accident airplane was in IMC at the time of the accident.

On a previous flight, the pilot had intentionally flown into IMC conditions with the autopilot on.

Probable cause: The non-instrument-rated pilot’s improper decision to conduct a flight in which instrument meteorological conditions existed along the route of flight, which resulted in spatial disorientation and a loss of airplane control.

NTSB Identification: CEN19FA021

This November 2018 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots

This post was originally published by General Aviation News on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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