The solo student pilot departed from an uncontrolled airport in Delta, Colo., to rendezvous with an examiner for his private pilot practical test. Weather conditions were overcast clouds at 600 feet and four miles visibility. After takeoff, the Cessna 182E hit terrain about two miles from the departure end of the runway, on the extended runway centerline, killing the student pilot. The debris field was consistent with a high speed impact at a flat pitch attitude.
The student pilot most likely attempted to climb through the overcast clouds and lost control, then exited the clouds in a steep dive and was attempting to recover from the dive as the plane hit the ground.
The primary flight instructor said the student pilot had a “go-go-go” type personality and led a fast-paced life with his business. He intended to use the airplane for his business. Further, he was concerned about getting his examination done before the airplane’s annual inspection.
The CFI subsequently learned that the student pilot was under additional personal and business stressors. The decision to depart into poor weather conditions was most likely influenced by these life stressors, both self-imposed and external.
The student pilot had 0.6 flight hours of simulated instrument training recorded in his logbook, as opposed to the FAA requirement of three flight hours for the private pilot practical test.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of this accident as the student pilot’s decision to attempt flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in a loss of control and ground impact.
NTSB Identification: CEN14FA071
This November 2013 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.