VFR into IMC proves fatal

Aircraft: Beech Musketeer. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: West Milton, Ohio. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot did not have a medical certificate at the time of the flight, and one was required for the flight. According to his logbook, he had logged 306 hours, including 224 in a Musketeer. He did not have an instrument rating but had logged 4.6 hours of simulated instrument flight time

There was no record of the pilot obtaining a weather briefing before taking off on a dark night in instrument conditions.

Radar data depicted that shortly after take off, the airplane performed a series of multi-directional turns at varying altitudes. Several witnesses saw or heard the airplane over their homes complete several turns at a low altitude.

Based on the erratic flight of the airplane, the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the low visibility present at the time of the accident, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane.

The post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Local law enforcement officers who responded to the accident reported the clouds were about 700 feet AGL when they arrived at the site.

Probable cause: The non-instrument-rated pilot’s decision to attempt a flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control of the airplane.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA082

This November 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. Ray Klein says

    I’m with you Mooney. I to believe that the third class medical requirement is wasteful of money that could be put to better use toward training. An hour of spin, unusual attitude or IFR would go so much further to make safer pilots.

  2. Mooney says

    Clearly the accident would not have occurred if the pilot had a current medical!! What does the medical have to do with it? Other than a mind set, it seems clearthat this pilot should have had some additional flight instruction, such as an hour of real IFR with a II. Get rid of the 3rd Class Medical and substitute some real flight instruction, maybe we will see improved safety!

    • RudyH says

      This late aviator was def. no old, bold pilot (ya’ still can’t be guaranteed to have both qualities for a full flying career); but gents, with a 10 year lack of ANY med cert., had he properly gotten one….He May Have Been Grounded by the Medxaminer…again and again, we are not docs…..not qualified to really call it. Best news on this guy…no innocent fatals with him….and we fly on….

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