These October 2009 accident reports are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, they are intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: RV-6. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Magnolia, N.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot had logged 270 hours, including 30 hours in the RV-6. He did not have an instrument rating. He was on a VFR flight when he contacted air traffic control with a request to divert because of weather. He reported that he was “in the thick of the weather.”
Air traffic control subsequently observed the airplane on radar at 1,500 feet, circling, before being lost off of radar. A witness in the vicinity of the accident reported that it was raining heavily when he saw the RV-6 spinning out of the clouds toward the ground. The recorded weather near the accident site at the time of the accident included winds from 020° at seven knots, visibility of seven miles in light rain, with a ceiling of 300 feet broken, 2,500 feet broken, 7,000 feet overcast.
According to Air Traffic Control Service personnel there were no records of any communication with the flight service station or entries made in the direct user access terminal system (DUATS) prior to the flight during which he could have obtained a weather briefing.
Probable cause: The pilot’s continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his subsequent failure to maintain aircraft control. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate preflight evaluation of the weather.
For more information: NTSB.gov NTSB Identification: ERA10LA007.