Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Chickasha, Okla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The non-instrument rated private pilot obtained an outlook weather briefing and was told that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed along his route of flight, with ceilings below 1,000 feet and visibilities less than three miles in mist and fog.
Weather at the time of the accident was a ceiling of 900 feet overcast and seven miles visibility.
Residents heard an aircraft engine at high power, followed by the ground shaking and the sound of impact.
The airplane crashed between two buildings in a near-vertical attitude.
The engine and propeller were buried in the crater. All cables were on their respective pulleys and all cable breaks bore overload signatures.
Based on the high speed impact at which the airplane hit the ground and the instrument conditions that existed in the vicinity, it is likely that the pilot became disoriented and lost control of the airplane.
A post-accident examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction.
Probable cause: The non-instrument-rated pilot’s decision to continue flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of instrument certification.
NTSB Identification: CEN12FA101
This December 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.