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-8. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Yankton, Ore. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was flying to an airport to obtain fuel. He recalled approaching the airport and noting low clouds in the area, but could not recall anything further about the end of the flight.
Air traffic control information showed that the pilot requested an IFR clearance and was cleared for the localizer approach. FAA radar data and the airplane’s onboard instrumentation data showed that although the airplane was on course, it had descended below the minimum descent altitude. The airplane crashed into terrain approximately eight miles from the airport. There was no indication that the pilot had the appropriate instrument approach chart available in the cockpit while conducting the approach.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of a pre-impact anomaly. Toxicology findings are consistent with the pilot using an over-the-counter antihistamine that has been reported to cause sedation. It is conceivable that the pilot may have been impaired by use of the antihistamine or distracted by the symptoms for which he had been prescribed the medication, however, it could not be conclusively determined whether the pilot’s medication contributed to the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate planning during an instrument approach and failure to maintain the published minimum altitudes, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.
For more information: NTSB.gov NTSB Identification: WPR10LA006