Alcohol and IMC bad combination

Aircraft: Cessna 310. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: McComb, Miss. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The 3,500-hour pilot, age 52, and two passengers arrived at the airport about 3:20 a.m. after going to a bar.

The pilot did not obtain a weather briefing or file an instrument flight rules flight plan. IFR conditions prevailed at the destination airport.

The airplane took off at 4:08 a.m. At 4:23 a.m., the pilot reported to air traffic control that he had the destination airport in sight and elected to cancel flight following services. At that time, the destination airport was 24 miles away and under two broken cloud ceilings and an overcast ceiling, so the pilot most likely did not have the destination airport in sight.

The airplane subsequently overflew the destination airport and initiated a left turn. The last radar target was recorded at 4:32 a.m., at an altitude of 2,600 feet MSL, which was above the two broken cloud ceilings and slightly below the overcast ceiling.

Examination of the wreckage and data recovered from an onboard engine analyzer did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Toxicological testing revealed that the pilot was impaired due to alcohol ingestion.

Probable cause: The pilot’s impairment due to alcohol ingestion and his failure to maintain control during an approach at night in instrument meteorological conditions.

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA232

This April 2011 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.


  1. Richard says

    It amazes me that he made it to 3500 hours before killing himself. I imagine the other’s were too drunk to care.

  2. Ed Seaton says

    What can you say? cut and dryed.They are doing this on the Hiways all the time.Pilots should have more sense.But some don’t.

  3. Richard Baker says

    This sounds like the character in the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” where Jim Backus played the pilot who wanted Mickey Rooney to mix up some Old-Fashions which he drank while flying in the Twin Beech. Again, if it had been just him then this would be the consequence. Why the others didn’t resist his flying the aircraft will forever be inexplicable. Unfortunately, 3 died.

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