Get home-itis proves fatal

This September 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Sweetwater, Tenn. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot had logged 329.6 hours, of which 24 were logged as simulated instrument conditions. There was no actual instrument experience and the pilot did not have an instrument rating.

In the two days before the accident, the pilot completed two uneventful cross-country flights. The accident flight was his flight home. There was no record of the pilot obtaining a weather briefing prior to takeoff. VFR conditions existed at the departure airport, but en route and at the destination IFR conditions in the form of low clouds and fog prevailed. One hour into the flight, radar data showed the airplane doing a series of climbing and descending turns consistent with spatial disorientation before the airplane flew into a hill with an elevation of 1,300 MSL.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight weather planning and improper decision to continue a VFR flight into IMC, which resulted in spatial disorientation and a loss of control.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10FA503

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