Loss of control Accident Maule MT-7-235 N899ZZ, Monday 23 March 2020
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Date:Monday 23 March 2020
Time:20:03 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic M7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Maule MT-7-235
Owner/operator:Carolina Training
Registration: N899ZZ
MSN: 18097C
Year of manufacture:2006
Engine model:Lycoming IO-540-W1A5
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:off Beaufort, NC -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Mount Pleasant Regional-Faison field, SC (KLRO)
Destination airport:Beaufort-Michael J. Smith Field, NC (KMRH)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot departed in the afternoon to complete a cross-country trip. He completed a brief stop at an intermediate airport, picked up a passenger, and then departed for the final destination under an instrument flight rules flight plan. The departure and en route phases of flight were routine and large portions of the pilot's route were about 10 to 15 nautical miles from the shoreline over open water. About 1 hour into the flight, air traffic control instructed the pilot to proceed to an initial waypoint that was a part of a GPS instrument approach procedure at the destination airport; however, a descent clearance was not provided. About 13 minutes later, the airplane's flight track showed a descending right turn spiral and radar contact was lost. No distress calls were received from the pilot.
The wreckage was located on the ocean floor about 0.30 nautical mile from the last radar point and was not recovered. Photographs taken underwater revealed fragments of wing, fuselage, engine, propeller, and empennage in the same general area on the ocean floor. Although the engine was not examined, the propeller exhibited signatures that indicate the engine was producing power at the time of impact.
Review of weather data and light conditions at the time of the accident revealed that the pilot was likely flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) that were conducive to spatial disorientation; however, the pilot was current and qualified to operate the airplane at night in IMC. Although it is possible that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and a subsequent loss of control, given that an autopsy, toxicology testing, and an examination of the wreckage could not be performed, the investigation was unable to determine the cause of the airplane's turning descent into the water.

Probable Cause: The airplane's turning descent into water while enroute in night instrument meteorological conditions for reasons that could not be determined.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA20LA134
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

24-Mar-2020 14:32 Geno Added
24-Mar-2020 19:09 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source]
25-Mar-2020 14:57 harro Updated [Registration, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Source, Damage, Narrative]
25-Mar-2020 18:21 Anon. Updated [Registration, Cn]
25-Mar-2020 18:23 harro Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport]
25-Mar-2020 18:24 harro Updated [Source]
25-Mar-2020 18:41 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Nature, Source, Narrative]
06-Apr-2020 02:53 Captain Adam Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
01-Jul-2022 14:19 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Registration, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative, Category, Accident report]
01-Jul-2022 14:21 harro Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative, Category]

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