This September 2009 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: Cessna 182. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Houma, La. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The non-instrument-rated commercial pilot requested and received a special visual flight rules (SVFR) clearance to take off. The pilot’s logbook was not recovered, but the NTSB Form 6120.1 completed by the operator indicated the pilot had over 17,000 hours, including more than 11,000 hours in this make and type of airplane.
Weather was below VFR minimums with a reported ceiling of 300 feet and seven miles visibility. There was fog in the area. The pilot’s last radio transmission occurred at 6:05 a.m. and the wreckage was located one mile south of the runway at 1225.
No evidence of an airplane malfunction was found during the wreckage examination and the wreckage and impact scars were indicative of a loss of control prior to impact. The airplane was not equipped to fly in instrument meteorological conditions. The pilot’s lack of instrument flight certification, combined with the poor weather conditions, were conducive to spatial disorientation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to take off into instrument meteorological conditions.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN09FA603