This June 2007 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: Beech Bonanza.
Location: Cannon Falls, Minn.
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot’s logbook dating back to 2002 indicated that he had about 461 hours of total flight time with about 17 hours in make and model. He did not have an instrument rating. He attended a Bonanza Initial Training Course in January 2007, and received eight hours of simulator training in a BE-36 flight simulator. He flew 13.9 hours in the accident airplane in January 2007, but had not flown since then. There were no logbook entries demonstrating that he had received any actual or simulated instrument training other than the eight hours of simulator training in January 2007. The pilot departed in visual meteorological conditions and requested flight following to his destination. When he neared his destination, he contacted approach control and reported that his altitude was 2,500 feet MSL. Approach control informed the pilot that there were moderate to heavy rain showers over the destination airport.
The pilot reported that he was experiencing poor visibility and was considering turning to 180° to go back the way he came. Approach control informed the pilot that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed north of his position with moderate to heavy rain showers. The pilot replied, “We’re kinda in the soup at this point” and indicated that he was turning to the south. The plane was lost from radar contact shortly after that.
A witness saw the plane descending through a cloud layer that was about 400 feet above the ground in a 50° nosedown attitude. It was flying at a high rate ofspeed when it hit the ground.
Probable cause: The continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in spatial disorientaton and loss of control.
For more information: NTSB.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070628X00822&key=1.