Accident Piper PA-28-181 N2823H, Friday 7 January 2005
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Date:Friday 7 January 2005
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-28-181
Registration: N2823H
MSN: 28-7990474
Year of manufacture:1979
Total airframe hrs:5713 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-360-A4M
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Bradley, SC -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:McCormick, SC (KS19)
Destination airport:Greenwood, SC (KGRD)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The private pilot was on a visual flight rules (VFR) night flight over a sparsely populated area; the airplane crashed about 9 miles from the departure airport. Wreckage and impact information was consistent with a steep-angle, high-speed descent. No evidence of mechanical malfunction was observed. Weather conditions included mid to high-level cloud coverage with ceilings broken at 2,200 feet above ground level and overcast at 3,400 feet above ground level. Moon phase was a waning crescent with 11 percent of visible disk illuminated. Review of these data by a Safety Board senior meteorologist revealed that the moon was below the horizon at the time of the accident and would have been obscured by the mid to high-level cloud cover. According to FAA advisory circular (AC) 60-4A "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," "Surface references and the natural horizon may at times become obscured, although visibility may be above visual flight rule minimums. Lack of natural horizon or surface reference is common ... especially at night in extremely sparsely populated areas or in low visibility conditions. A sloping cloud formation, an obscured horizon, a dark scene spread with ground lights and stars, and certain geometric patterns of ground lights can provide inaccurate visual information for aligning the aircraft correctly with the actual horizon. The disoriented pilot may place the aircraft in a dangerous attitude."
Probable Cause: The pilot's loss of control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent and collision with trees and the ground. A factor was the dark night conditions.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ATL05FA041
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
06-Dec-2017 06:52 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Source, Narrative]

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