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.